Washington Nationals fans should be heartened to know that when pitcher Steven Strasburg has surgery on his prized right arm in Los Angeles on Friday, a Washington and Lee alumnus is assisting in the operation.
Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, of the Class of 1992, is medical director for the Nationals and will be working with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum when Strasburg undergoes ligament replacement surgery, commonly known as “Tommy John surgery,” to rebuild his right elbow.
For the non-baseball fans, Strasburg, 22, was the overall No. 1 pick in the 2009 baseball draft and moved up through the minor leagues this year to make his major league debut in June. In his first game, he struck out 14 and energized baseball fans in the nation’s capital and around the country. He was injured in a game against Philadelphia.
Wiemi, a lacrosse All-American for the Generals, has been treating Strasburg throughout the rookie righthander’s season, including conducting the extensive MRI that revealed the extent of his injury last week.
He is director of sports medicine for Washington Hospital Center’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. In addition to the Nationals, Wiemi is team physician for the United States Judo Team and a consultant for the University of Maryland athletics teams.
A chemistry major at W&L, Wiemi went to the Medical College of Virginia and also did a sports fellowship at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in L.A. That clinic is named, in part, for Dr. Frank Job, who performed the first successful ligament replacement surgery on a professional athlete — pitcher Tommy John — in 1974.
Wiemi specializes in arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder, elbow and knee, with a particular emphasis on new, minimally invasive, reconstructive surgical procedures. In addition to the Nationals, he has also served as an assistant team physician for the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Angels and Anaheim Mighty Ducks, as well as for the teams of Loyola Marymount University.
If you’ve followed the Nationals closely this season, you will already know that last month Wiemi did the knee surgery on left fielder Josh Willingham. More than just National fans will be interested in the outcome of Friday’s procedure on Strasburg.