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'We want to take care of these guys': KW Titans shooting for a family doctor

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As the KW Titans enter the second half of their season, they are calling out for a family doctor to join the team.

The Titans posted to social media earlier this month, asking for physicians interested in volunteering their time to reach out.

So far this season, any injured or ill Titans players received attention through walk-in clinics. Team owner David Schooley says a family doctor will offer faster medical attention while allowing his players to skip long wait times at clinics.

“We want to take care of these guys,” Schooley told CTV News.

Currently, 11 of the Titans’ 12 players are non-Canadians and are playing without OHIP coverage. Kitchener native Juwan Miller is the only Titan with OHIP, but admits he doesn’t have a family doctor either.

“It is essential that we, and every team, has a doctor,” Miller said.

According to medical referral service Medimap, Ontarians faced an average wait time of 59 minutes at walk-in clinics in 2023, a 34-minute increase from the year before.  

“There is a shortage of new doctors alongside doctors retiring,” Medimap CEO Thomas Jankowski told CTV News.

Jim Stewart, with the Waterloo Region Health Coalition, believes the issue is trending in the wrong direction.

“I’d describe it as poor and getting worse,” Stewart said. “Currently there’s about 2.3 million Ontarians across the province who do not have a family physician.

Titans forward Anthony Lee Jr. felt the impact first hand when he dislocated his finger while wrestling for a loose ball in the season opener. Lee Jr.’s trip to the emergency room cost the team $1,100.

“Felt something shift, I look down at my finger and it was twisted sideways,” Lee Jr. said. “With a lot of games that we play the body gets broken down.”

Schooley says the biggest challenge isn’t necessarily the doctor shortage, but finding a physician who’s willing to work for free.

“We are a not-for-profit. What we’re really looking for is access to someone that can take the call when we have an emergency circumstance,” Schooley said. “We are not trying to take a doctor away from someone in the city.”

Schooley says the team has already connected with physiotherapists and dental teams who are willing to donate their time and he hopes a family doctor will do the same.

Family doctors interested in contacting the KW Titans can email david@kwtitans.com for more information.

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