Sports Medicine at KP Napa-Solano

Posted: April 14, 2021

Meet Steven McGrath, MD, and Crystal Hnatko, DO, and the team of sports medicine specialists in the Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano Service Area. Embedded at both the Vacaville and the Vallejo medical centers, the team treats all sports related injuries and has a unique concussion clinic.

Sports medicine and treating shoulders and knees became Steven McGrath’s passion in the 1990s, during a time of groundbreaking advances in arthroscropic orthopedic procedures.  

Dr. McGrath, MD, who has been with Kaiser Permanente for 22 years, helped launch and develop the Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano Service Area Sports Medicine Department about 15 years ago. It was the vision of Michael Bang, head of Physical Therapy. The two coordinated a small weekly clinic where Dr. McGrath, a physical therapist, nonoperative sports medicine specialist, and an orthopedic physician assistant collaborated to see and treat injured athletes.

The current sports medicine team consists of about 9 people – a mix of orthopedic surgeons and medical sports medicine physicians, said Dr. McGrath, chief of the team, which is situated within the Orthopedic Department.

The surgical program stands out because of the complex cases the team takes on, such as multi-ligament knee reconstruction surgeries that can be more than 6 hours, Dr. McGrath said. This type of care is possible because of the teamwork approach and a wide range of surgical expertise within the department.

“We don’t like to turn anyone away,” Dr. McGrath said, adding that he often teams up on more complex surgeries with the Orthopedic department’s co-chiefs Chad MacLachlan, MD, and Alexander Disston, MD.

The success of Napa-Solano’s team has also been defined in recent years by the addition of full-time Primary Care Sports Medicine Physicians, including Crystal Hnatko, DO, and James Huang, MD.  Along with traditional office examination, Dr. Huang and Dr. Hnatko often use bedside ultrasound to evaluate and treat patients. The team is also part of a pilot study on platelet-rich plasma therapy for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis.

“Our group of operative and non-operative professionals includes some of the most caring providers in all Northern California,” Dr. Hnatko said. “From our eager physician assistants Sundance McGuire and Robert Reynoso to our newest member Dr. James Huang who joined us 2 years ago, we have put together a truly amazing sports medicine team.” 

Another unique effort the team is involved in is the pediatric sports concussion clinic, which Dr. Hnatko runs, together with Courtney Dawley, DO, through the Pediatrics Department. 

“Concussion care is very time sensitive,” she said.  “Our model includes rapid outreach by a clinical health educator and utilizes a cadre of physicians to actively manage concussion.” 

Hnatko and other Napa-Solano sports medicine physicians are also involved in the care of local professional and amateur athletes. The athletic trainers in the area can call up someone from the Sports Medicine team during football games and other events.

Visit KP Napa-Solano’s sports medicine website for more information.