Media Resources

Dr. Margot Putukian named Chief Medical Officer

MLS logo

Dr. Lawrence Lemak appointed Chief Medical Officer Emeritus;
Dr. Bert Mandelbaum as Associate Chief Medical Officer;
John Gallucci named Assistant to the Chief Medical Officer

(November 15, 2018) –
Major League Soccer today announced that Dr. Margot Putukian, a highly accomplished and experienced sports physician, administrator and researcher, has been named the League’s new Chief Medical Officer (CMO). In addition, the League announced that Dr. Bert Mandelbaum has been named Associate CMO, and John Gallucci has been named Assistant to the CMO. Dr. Lawrence Lemak, who has served as the League’s CMO since 1996, will become CMO Emeritus.

Dr. Putukian, who will lead this group and others as they provide consultation to the league in medical matters, is the Director of Athletic Medicine, Head Team Physician and Assistant Director of Medical Services at Princeton University. A medical consultant for MLS since 2014, she is a Team Physician for U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Men’s Lacrosse Team. In addition, she chairs the U.S. Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee, and is on several medical advisory committees, including U.S. Soccer, USA Football, and the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee.

“The health and safety of MLS players is our highest priority, and that is reflected in our appointing a physician and leader with the skills, credentials and experience of Dr. Putukian,” said Mark Abbott, MLS President and Deputy Commissioner. “We are confident that Dr. Putukian is the right person to continue to raise our high level of care for our world-class athletes.”

Board certified in Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine, Dr. Putukian is also the author of several medical journal articles and a past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, Medical Degree from Boston University, and completed her residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. before completing a fellowship in Sports Medicine at Michigan State University.

Dr. Putukian succeeds Dr. Lemak, who was MLS’ first Chief Medical Officer and is stepping down after serving the League and its players for more than two decades. Among the trailblazing achievements of Dr. Lemak’s remarkable career were his founding of the American Sports Medicine Institute and the National Center for Sports Safety. In 2015, he was one of the leaders behind the first-ever MLS and U.S. Soccer Medical Symposium held at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (now United Soccer Coaches) conference in Philadelphia.  He helped spearhead the first soccer summit between MLS, U.S. Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League focused on the issue of concussions, “Head Injury in Soccer: From Science to the Field,” held in New York. In honor of his extraordinary service to MLS, Dr. Lemak has been named CMO Emeritus.

Dr. Mandelbaum has been assistant Medical Director for MLS since 1996 and has worked with UCLA Athletics (1985-1989) and Pepperdine University (1990-present), and the LA Galaxy of MLS. His practice is at the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group, where he serves as the Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and Medical Director for the FIFA Medical Center of Excellence. He was the Chief Medical Officer for Women’s World Cup Soccer in 1999 and 2003, and has been the U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team’s Physician since 1991. He served as FIFA medical officer for the FIFA World Cup in 2014. In 2007 he was appointed to FIFA’s Sports Medicine Committee until 2017. He also served as Medical Officer for the Olympics in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro. He was Chief Medical Officer for the World Special Olympics Games in 2015, the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2015 and 2017 and COPA Centenario in 2016.

Gallucci previously held the position of Medical Coordinator for MLS and continues to serve as a sports medicine consultant for athletes in the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB. The CEO of JAG-ONE Physical Therapy, he was honored as a 2017 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Regional Award Winner and has been featured as one of the “20 People to Watch in Health” by 201 Magazine. A noted author, Gallucci released his first book titled Soccer Injury Prevention and Treatment in 2014. His second book, titled Play Ball: Don’t Let Injuries Sideline You This Season was released earlier this year.