PHILADELPHIA, PA – Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo announced today the hiring of C. Daniel Medina Leal, MD, PhD to the newly-created position of Vice President of Athlete Care. Dr. Medina joins the organization from the renowned Fútbol Club Barcelona, where he most recently served as Deputy Director of the Sports Science and Medical Department, overseeing 2,000 athletes and more than 125 athlete care and performance staff members. He served as Team Physician for FC Barcelona from 2008-2015 and first joined its medical services department in 2005.
In his role with the 76ers, Dr. Medina will be based at the state-of-the-art Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex in Camden, N.J., and oversee all areas of athlete care and performance, including the medical and sports science departments, as well as the athletic training, physiotherapy, nutrition and strength and conditioning departments.
“We operate in a competitive and complex industry that relies heavily on player health, and it remains our mission to excel and innovate at every possible facet of athlete care and performance,” Colangelo said. “After a global search for a proven and experienced leader in this highly critical space, I am pleased that Dr. Medina has agreed to join the Sixers organization where he will plan, manage and implement our efforts to establish an elite and sustainable athlete care and performance model. With extraordinary credentials and a wealth of experience with world class athletes, Dr. Medina addresses every possible goal and objective we set out to achieve with this appointment.”
Dr. Medina boasts an extensive résumé in athlete care and sports performance. In addition to earning a PhD from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Medical School in Spain, Dr. Medina holds Master’s Degrees from the University of Barcelona (Evaluative Medicine) and University Pablo Olavide (Fútbol Conditioning and Rehab). He also graduated from the International Olympic Committee’s sports nutrition program and participated in continuing health care education programs at Harvard Business School.
In addition to his work with the storied fútbol franchise, Dr. Medina served as a driving force behind FC Barcelona’s award-winning Barca Innovation Hub. Leveraging his expertise in medicine, nutrition, sports science, analytics and technology, Dr. Medina was heavily involved in Barca Innovation Hub’s evaluation and research of emerging products, particularly those designed to aid in athlete health and performance.
Dr. Medina, who graduated South Haven High School in South Haven, Mich., is fluent in English and Spanish. He relocates to the United States with his wife, Dr. Irene Diaz-Martínez, a primary care physician, and their two daughters, Eva (10) and Ana (2).
“I want to thank Josh Harris, David Blitzer and Bryan Colangelo for this exciting opportunity to join the iconic 76ers organization in a truly global league like the NBA,” Dr. Medina said. “I have always had a deep passion and love for the game of basketball and I look forward to working with the 76ers’ talented staff in developing connective, harmonic and world-class athlete care services for our incredible roster of players.
“There are a lot of parallels between my work in fútbol and the work being done in the NBA with regards to athlete care. The demands on professional athletes require a team to build integrated, thorough athlete care plans that are communicated and aligned effectively across all parts of the organization. By focusing on integrated, streamlined care that bridges communication and further establishes an efficient workflow, an organization can best position its athletes for long-term health and performance. I am excited to utilize my experience at FC Barcelona to further build and grow the athlete care services with the Philadelphia 76ers.”