On the Titans' new head of sports medicine

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It’s a little too easy to look at the Tennessee Titans' hiring of Todd Toriscelli as their Director of Sports Medicine as Ruston Webster linking up with an old friend.

The Titans' GM and the team’s newest employee did work together in Tampa Bay. But Webster is a man of integrity who just watched coach Mike Munchak’s job come apart largely because of loyalty to friends on his staff who were not up to their jobs.

The Titans’ longtime head athletic trainer Brad Brown was let go last week. Toriscelli’s hiring was announced Friday.

“I have known Todd for nearly 20 years and have a great deal of respect for the work he has done through the years,” Webster said in the team’s announcement. “He is organized, professional and has a wide-range of knowledge from his years in the field. He also has respect within the athletic training world, as many of his former assistants have gone on to become head trainers in the NFL and college.”

Toriscelli joined the Buccaneers in 1997, after seven years as a head athletic trainer in the college ranks, split between Stanford, Miami (Fla.), and Kansas State.

The Titans have been talking of culture change, and while sports medicine might not jump to mind when considering that transformation, it’s actually an area where there might be room.

Sports science is becoming bigger and bigger, and there certainly are advances and new ideas that have come into play in injury prevention and treatment.

The Titans could be looking to Toriscelli to advance the organization in some of those areas. Increasingly we hear of players going away from team headquarters for treatment of injuries, particularly in the offseason.

Perhaps Toriscelli and a revamped department will fare better in giving the Titans a modern training room where players and their agents feel they are being best served.

Some highlights from Toriscelli’s time with the Bucs:

  • Participated in research projects on dehydration and exercise in the heat with scientists from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.

  • Completed a large research project on hamstring injuries and other injury-related topics among NFL players. He has published many articles and lectured on topics related to sports medicine.

  • Named to the NFL Health and Safety Panel.

  • During his Tampa Bay tenure, eight former Buccaneers assistants or intern athletic trainers have gone on to become head athletic trainers at the professional or major college level.