Sports Fellowship: Training in the South
With an interest in sports medicine, where else to go learn about it but the birth place of modern sports medicine. The South is a tiny bit passionate about their football, and if you follow it closely, you have probably heard of American Sports Medicine Institute. In summer of 2013, I packed up my wife who was 26 weeks pregnant with twins and my 18mo old daughter in a Uhaul and moved to Birmingham, AL for a year where I would learn nearly everything there is to know about sports medicine.
I was trained by Dr. Larry Lemak who is one of the pioneers of sports medicine, covering sidelines long before it was the thing to do. He is the medical director of Major League Soccer, founder of the National Center for Sports Safety, has been inducted into two Alabama Hall of Fames, and has countless achievements. He is an inspiration because after over 40+ years coverings games and taking care of athletes, he still has the passion for athletes.
In addition to covering the sidelines and the day-to-day clinic/surgical experience, I was able to attend multiple conferences such as the AAOS Academy meeting and Major League Soccer Symposium. An integral part of the sports medicine fellowship is sideline coverage for football games, and football season was revving to go when the sports fellowship began in August. Friday nights were spent at Leeds High School, alma mater of one of my favorite celebrities Charles Barkley. They finished second in state, which was a fun experience. On Saturdays, I spent my time at Jacksonville State University, an FCS school in Jacksonville, Alabama. Covering JSU on the sidelines showed me just how intense college athletics can be.
My sports fellowship was full of great experiences that helped forge my patient approach. The year opened my eyes to the societal pressures on athletes to perform and it changed my perspective on treatment options for athletes. Learning from Dr. Lemak, I now run Friday night clinics in the fall to streamline care for athletes during the football season. Dr. Lemak’s continued pursuit to improving the lives of athletes also inspired me to focus on injury prevention and the health of athletes. In partnership with others, we are innovating an exciting injury screening program that will be able to identify which athletes are at risk of injury and then implement interventions to reduce that risk.