Dr. David Chao

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Dr. David Chao

Specialties: Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine Expert

Services: ACL Reconstruction, Arthroscopic Surgery, Partial and Complete Knee Replacement, Hip Replacement, Tennis Elbow Surgery, Meniscus Repair


David Chao, MD

David Chao, MD is a board-certified Orthopaedic Surgeon with a Subspecialty Certification in Sports Medicine, who has been engaged in an active San Diego practice since 1995. He is a member of the international ACL Study Group, the NFL Physicians Society, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

In addition to his San Diego practice, he serves as a team physician for multiple sports teams and events, including as the Head Team Physician for the San Diego Chargers. Dr. Chao has also been the Chief Medical Officer for ESPN’s X Games at over two dozen summer and winter games. He is the Team Physician for the USA Sevens Rugby Team and serves as Team Physician for many local universities and high schools. Dr. Chao has been a medical consultant for the WWE and a host physician for the USA Olympic Committee. Many MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL athletes across the nation have consulted with Dr. Chao to obtain his recommendations.
David Chao, MD is the founder and President of The SDSMF (San Diego Sports Medicine Foundation), which was created in 2002 to provide a medical safety net for injured youth with limited financial means, in order to return them back to health, life and sports. SDSMF touches hundreds of youth each year and has performed over 50 free surgeries to date for San Diego students.

Dr. Chao is also an active member of many community organizations including San Diego International Sports Council (Board Member), Junior Seau Foundation (Board Member), Wells Fargo Bank (Community Board Member), and San Diego Chargers Community Foundation (Leadership Team Member).
After growing up in southern California, Dr. Chao attended Harvard University and then received his medical degree from the Northwestern University School of Medicine at Chicago in 1989. He is known for providing cutting-edge orthopaedic care, especially in the sports medicine arena, has lectured nationally and holds patents on innovative orthopaedic products.
NFL Physicians Society
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
San Diego County Medical Society
ACL Study Group
International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS)
Western Orthopaedic Association, San Diego Chapter
Professional Affiliations
San Diego Sports Medicine Foundation, Founder/President
Junior Seau Foundation, Board of Directors
San Diego Sports Commission, Trustee
• Patent Holder/Production Design–Arthrex Shoulder Tissue Tak I & II
Insurances Accepted
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross / Blue Shield
  • Blue Shield of California
  • Medicare
  • United Healthcare

Undergraduate School

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Major - Psychobiology

Medical School

Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Honors Program in Medical Education
Doctor of Medicine


Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL
Orthopedic Surgery Residency


Minneapolis Sports Medicine Center, Minneapolis, MN
Sports Medicine Fellowship - Shoulder and Knee
David Fischer, et. al.
The Action Sports Athlete. Chao DJ, Reiman PR, Augustine SJ.; Sports Medicine Update, Newsletter of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine July/August 2007.

Pain Care Use In Shoulder Surgery. Chao DJ, Cawley P, Young S.; Accepted, American Journal of Orthopedics, 2005.

Field Mgmt. and Rehabilitation of an Acute Posterior Hip Dislocation in a Professional Football Player. Collins J, Trulock S, Chao DJ.; Pro Football Athletic Trainer, Vol. 19, No. 1., Summer 2000.

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