Irving V. Glick, M.D., 92, a visionary orthopedic surgeon who was best known for developing broad medical oversight of tennis throughout the world, died onApril 17, 2009 at his home in Great Neck. The cause was from complications of a prolonged illness, his wife, Tommie, said.
Dr. Glick was the tournament physician for the US Open Tennis Championships for over 25 years, beginning when the Open was held at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills. When the United States Tennis Association (USTA) moved the US Open to the new stadium in Flushing, in 1970, Dr. Glick established a medical department that became the model of medical care at tennis tournaments throughout the world. He remained chief of the Medical Department until 1991 and was tournament physician emeritus until his death. In a prior interview, when asked about the number of players without medical insurance, Dr. Glick said, "My job is to give the players the best quality care you can find anywhere in the world." Tennis legend and four-time US Open champion John McEnroe commented: "Every time I saw Dr. Glick with an injury, he made me believe I was going to get better. He was so positive and comforting. There wasn't a mean bone in his body."
Dr. Glick founded and chaired the USTA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee in 1980, which included medical and sport science experts from around the country. "Under his leadership, sports medicine in general, and tennis medicine in particular, became an established and well-respected discipline," says USTA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline. He became honorary chair of the USTA Sport Science Committee in 1989. Dr. Glick was the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Medical Representative to the Olympic Games in Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992). He was instrumental in developing the Tennis Anti-Doping Program, years before the establishment of the current World Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees doping control in all Olympic sports. He was also a founding member of the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Medical Committee, which established medical and eligibility guidelines for international wheelchair tennis.
Tennis was not his only love. In the 1970's, after working for the New Jersey Nets under the legendary St. John's men's basketball head coach Lou Carnesecca, Dr. Glick served as the Red Storm's team physician for over 20 years, including during their memorable 1985 Final Four appearance. During his tenure, he attended to many players as if they were part of his extended family. "Our athletes truly loved him," coach Carnesecca said, "He was like a father to me and to all my players. He is the most caring human being I have ever met."
Dr. Glick received numerous awards, including induction into the USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame and St. John's University Athletic Hall of Fame. He is recipient of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Tennis Educational Merit Award, St. John's University Sonny Dove Award, and the President's Medal from St. John's University. Because of his extraordinary contributions to women's tennis, in 2000 he was the first recipient of the annual award named in his honor, the WTA Irving Glick Award, which was established to honor excellence and to carry on the legacy for which Dr. Glick has set the standard.
Irving Glick graduated from the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York City in 1932. He attended Baylor University during the Great Depression, received his medical education at University of Maryland, and returned to New York in 1940, where he completed his Orthopedic Surgery residency at Bellevue Hospital. In 1944, during the second World War he entered the medical corps of the U.S. military with the rank of major, and was assigned as an orthopedic surgeon to various military hospitals. During this period he was among the first to use bone grafting in reconstructive surgery. Because of his specialty and the urgent and continuing needs of wounded soldiers, he was retained in the military beyond the war's cessation. In 1947, during his last military assignment in Augusta, Georgia at Oliver General Hospital, he met and subsequently married Tommie Wurtsbaugh, an American Red Cross psychiatric social worker.
After a long and successful career in private practice, and as Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Glick retired from practicing medicine in 1999, at which time he was consulting orthopedic surgeon at ProHEALTH Care Associates in Lake Success. He joined ProHEALTH, which now counts more than 150 physicians, when the practice was in its infancy. Says ProHEALTH CEO Dr. David Cooper: "Irving Glick added class and prestige to our organization. His patients and staff adored him."
Dr. Glick is survived by his longtime wife Tommie, their two children, John and Lisabeth and their three grandchildren, Lauren, Jennifer and Brian.
Graveside services were held April 22 at the Oakwood Cemetery in Jefferson, TX, under the direction of Haggard Funeral Home. A memorial guestbook may be signed at www.haggardfuneralhome.com.