NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina –
As the U.S. Men’s National Hockey Team arrived in Latvia earlier this week for the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship, they are accompanied by one of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune’s very own. U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Douglas Weiss, who serves as an orthopedic surgeon at NMCCL is also a Team Physician for the men’s USA Hockey Team.
From the operating room to the ice hockey rink, Weiss’ desire to serve his country in various roles is evident. What once began as a hobby growing up, Weiss has been instrumental in turning the sport of hockey into a vital element for fostering a liaison between the Navy and USA Hockey.
“As a joint partnership, when people see this dual role, whether they are part of the U.S. Navy, or part of USA Hockey, I hope there is a synergistic effect. They’ll want to learn more about USA Hockey or the Navy,” states Weiss. “This is additional exposure for the Navy, in a whole different context. The more exposure you have to people and the more experience people have with military members, whether it be an infantry man or an orthopedic surgeon, the more people understand and feel comfortable with our military.”
Weiss has been serving voluntarily as a USA Hockey Team Physician since 2008, and travels with teams around the world as part of yearly competitions. Weiss commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 2019, and he is thankful for the Navy’s ongoing support in allowing him to continue his participation. Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune’s leadership feels Weiss’s partnership with the national hockey team is beneficial.
“I am thrilled that we can foster and support his ongoing relationship with USA Hockey because the Navy and Marine Corps draw so much benefit from his participation and sustainment of his unique skills,” said U.S. Commander Douglas E. Pittner, director for Surgical Services at NMCCL. “He [Dr. Weiss] has brought a diverse background into Navy orthopedics that is proving mutually beneficial. The ability to manage injuries in high level athletes is a combination of both art and science…there are many similarities to management of musculoskeletal injuries in high-performance active duty Marines such as our MARSOC [Marine Corps Special Operations Command] team.”
Weiss hopes that his partnership with USA Hockey, will familiarize people with the career opportunities available through the military.
“There are just so many different job opportunities within the military, and anytime you have a chance to get trained, whether you stay in or a make it a career, it can only help you,” said Weiss. “I work with so many wonderful people in my work with the U.S. Navy and my work with USA Hockey. Circumstances are different from a hockey rink than say an operating base in Afghanistan, but the team concept is the same. Everyone belongs to a group, we all have a part and we all work together, and in reliance of each other, within the context of one mission.”
When asked about Weiss’ unique dual role, NMCCL’s Commander is supportive.
“LCDR Weiss is a Navy ambassador to the world, simultaneously strengthening community relationships and representing the Navy and Department of Defense at the elite level of professional hockey,” said Captain Reginald Ewing, Commander for NMCCL. “Our Sailors and Marines are akin to professional athletes, so it’s a natural fit for LCDR Weiss to care for our Nation’s warfighters and USA Hockey players!”
This year’s IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will take place May 21 – June 6 in Riga, Latvia. The U.S. Men’s National Team is slated for matches against Finland, Canada, and Kazakhstan among other nations.
For more information about the 2021 Men’s World Championship visit https://teamusa.usahockey.com/2021mensworlds