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Court of Dreams: Caring for Virginia Tech’s Championship Basketball Team

Mary Mitchell, DO posing with trophy after basketball game
By Amy Ostroth -

Mary Mitchell, DO (above, far right), insists that she has the best job.

Dr. Mitchell is an associate professor in the VCOM-Virginia’s Department of Family Medicine, but she’s also part of VCOM’s nationally recognized sports medicine program, which provides medical care to Virginia Tech’s sports teams.

Dr. Mitchell has the privilege of being the team physician for the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team, which had a truly remarkable season, winning the ACC Tournament title and reaching the final four of the NCAA Tournament before being eliminated by eventual champion Louisiana State University. For good reason, Blacksburg has been all-in on this team and for Dr. Mitchell, this season has been a highlight of her career.

As team physician, Dr. Mitchell, along with others, provides primary care for the members of the team, ensuring that they receive the best care, not just for their body, but also for their mind and soul. People often think team physicians only interact with members of the team when they’re injured, but Dr. Mitchell provides a wide range of care to the team. “Shy of surgery, I manage everything from their athletic injuries to acute illness to preventative care,” she says.

The Virginia Tech athletics program has embraced the osteopathic philosophy. “Osteopathic manipulative treatments are a large component of the care we provide to the athletes,” Dr. Mitchell notes. “We not only offer pregame osteopathic treatments, which the women's basketball team regularly partakes in, but also treatments not associated with game time to help treat and prevent injuries.”

It's a role that provides a lot of personal satisfaction for Dr. Mitchell. “As cliche as this sounds, my favorite part of this job is the athletes,” she says. “They are the reason I show up. They are the reason I love what I do. Nothing gives me greater joy than watching them come back from an injury and succeeding.”

She began in the VCOM-Virginia Tech sports medicine fellowship program when this year’s seniors were just freshmen, so she’s been able to watch them grow, making the season all the more special. “I have gotten to know these girls and genuinely care about them so deeply,” she shares enthusiastically. “I have loved getting to know the entire team and watch them grow into the strong, amazing women that they have become! I'm proud that they haven't let anyone define what they are capable of.”

Check out the video below of Dr. Mitchell cutting down the net after the ACC Championship game!

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