Daniel Garza, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and of emergency medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine, and a Bay Area sports medicine physician, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 15, at his home.

Garza’s primary research focused on the prevention of traumatic brain injury in athletes. He was conducting extensive studies on the risk of concussions by fitting athletes with mouthpieces to measure the impact of collisions.

Garza worked as the medical director and team physician for the San Francisco 49ers and also worked with intercollegiate teams within Stanford Athletics.  Garza taught undergraduate human physiology, sports medicine and exercise anatomy at Stanford.

“Dan Garza was very dedicated to sports medicine, to teaching human physiology and to his research to improve recovery and treatment outcomes for athletes,” said William Maloney, MD, professor and chair of the department of orthopaedic surgery. “He was persistent in his desire to find solutions to one of the most concerning areas in our field, the prevention of concussions and head trauma. We are saddened by his loss and the loss to our profession.”

Garza entered Stanford as an undergraduate and continued on to Stanford Medical School, where he earned his MD in 2000. He completed his medical internship and residency at Stanford Hospital and began working with the 49ers in 2007.  In 2008, he was appointed to the medical school faculty as assistant professor.

Garza was a co-author of numerous research studies focused on sports injuries, including athletic trauma, heat illness and infectious diseases in athletes.  Garza’s research specialized in real-time biomechanical and physiological monitoring of athletes, such as through the mouth guard devices.  His most recent work included fitting athletes in football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey with mouthpieces to measure the frequency and force of collisions.

Garza was an advocate for educating athletes and parents about the potential for injury at the youth-sport level.  He worked in the Health and Human Performance Laboratory within the Division of Sports Medicine and served as associate director of the Lacob Family Sports Medicine Center.

Garza was well-known among students, student athletes and the medical community at Stanford.  For anyone who would like support in dealing with this loss, support services are available to faculty and staff through the Help Center at (650) 723-4577 and to students through the Vaden Health Center’s Counseling and Psychological Services at (650) 723-3785.