D.C. United and OrthoVirginia have teamed up to bring fans a behind-the-scenes look at the doctors who deliver top medical care for our team and FAQs related to sports medicine!

This month’s doctors are Dr. Annunziata and Dr. Antonis:



Dr. Christopher Annunziata specializes in sports medicine and complex problems of the shoulder and knee. He was drawn to the field of orthopedics because of the opportunity it would give him to care for people of all ages and to restore or enhance the function of people with injury or chronic joint problems. He is the Chief Medical Officer for D.C. United and now the Head Team Orthopedic Surgeon for the Washington Football Team.



Dr. Michael Antonis specializes in sports medicine. Dr. Antonis is a registered diagnostic medical sonographer with a special interest in ultrasound point-of-care exams and ultrasound-guided procedures, including platelet-rich plasma and newer orthobiologic agents, to augment healing. His great joy is to see athletes of all ages return to their previous activities with markedly decreased pain – whether running a marathon or simply completing activities of daily living. Dr. Antonis is a Sports Medicine Team Physician for D.C. United and The Washington Football Team.


The five best strength exercises for Soccer Players?

Strength makes an athlete better. At all levels and ages, a stronger athlete will have a competitive advantage over and suffer fewer injuries than a weaker one.

Weight room strength is very different from athletic strength, however, so what exercises should coaches, parents, and trainers use to gauge athletic ability and injury prevention in soccer players?

  1. Bulgarian Split Squat
  2. Dead Lifts
  3. Plank & Side Plank
  4. Nordic Curls
  5. Sumo Squat

What is the most common injury you see in soccer?

Soccer is a great way to build endurance, improve speed, and promote fitness, all while enjoying the camaraderie of a team sport. Soccer is a relatively safe activity, with an injury rate of one-fifth to one-half of that in American football. But you can still get hurt. Soccer involves quick start-and-stop motions and physical contact, which can lead to injury.

The most common injuries in soccer are:

  • Ankle sprain
  • Knee sprain
  • Calf strains
  • Hamstring strain
  • Foot fracture
  • Wrist fracture
  • Kneecap bursitis
  • ACL & Meniscal tears
  • Concussion

What is the difference between breaks and fractures?

When it comes to bone injuries, patients ask, “Is my bone fractured or broken?”

To which we reply, it’s both. The words fracture and break mean the same thing.

People often confuse a simple fracture with a complex fracture. A simple fracture is a bone that is broken in two pieces while a complex fracture is broken into more than two pieces.

Another source of confusion stems from the difference between a closed fracture and a compound fracture. A closed fracture remains underneath the skin. A compound fracture pierces through the skin.

Ice vs. Heat, when to use which?

Ice and heat therapy are used to treat a multitude of injuries and conditions, with some treatment plans calling for both. In general, however, cold therapy is for acute injuries and pain that involves inflammation or swelling. Heat therapy is for muscle and joint pain or stiffness.

Ask the doctors

Have a question? Submit your inquiry to sponsorship@dcunited.com to learn more about Sports Medicine from OrthoVirginia.