USA Hockey Honors UPMC Surgeon Charles “Chip” Burke III with Excellence in Safety Award
Dr. Burke, a UPMC orthopaedic surgeon and clinical associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
, has been combining his profession as an orthopaedic surgeon with his passion for the sport of ice hockey at all levels for more than 30 years. His decades of volunteering with USA Hockey have led him to a number of positions, including being a 15-year member of the Safety and Protective Equipment Committee and team physician for the 2002 Winter Olympics. He also has served as part of the Coaching Education Program, teaching coaches about safety in youth sports.
During Dr. Burke’s 25 years as team physician with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL), he made his most notable contribution to NHL safety by developing the NHL Concussion Program
, the largest study of head injuries in sports. The 7-year initiative analyzed head injuries, making large strides in the understanding of concussions. He is past president of the NHL Team Physician’s Society (NHLTPS) and chaired the NHLTPS Injury Committee for many years.
Dr. Burke also was actively involved in establishing the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program
in 2000, the first and largest program of its kind, widely considered as the national leader in concussion care and treatment. The center sees patients of all ages and athletic ability, testing for and treating head injuries from a multidisciplinary approach.
“I’ve dedicated my life to making hockey safer so we have fewer injuries,” said Dr. Burke of his decades of work in the game. “Accomplishing this would allow kids to participate more often without injuries that could affect their futures outside of sports. Between USA Hockey and all the work I’ve done with the NHL and UPMC, that’s always been my goal—to give back to the sport.”
USA Hockey relies on volunteers to continue promoting youth sports as a means of providing life lessons hard to find elsewhere. Dr. Burke believes the goal of USA Hockey is not simply to create elite athletes, but to educate and develop the young participants through competition and hard work.
Dr. Burke grew up in Boston playing hockey in a backyard rink with his five brothers. He attended Harvard College, earning a varsity letter in ice hockey. Three of his brothers also lettered in collegiate hockey, two at Harvard and one at Notre Dame.