I did not grow up wanting to be a physician. Like a lot of young, ambitious boys, I wanted to be a professional athlete – a Major League baseball player to be precise.
I was born in Brighton, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship. I was the first member of my family to attend college. I am eternally grateful my athletic abilities provided me with the means and opportunity to study at a first rate academic institution.
It was my own experience as a patient that piqued my interest in becoming an orthopaedic surgeon. Prior to attending medical school at the University of Michigan, I played three years of professional baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox organizations. During my second season, I tore the labrum in my throwing shoulder. Years ago this easily could have been a career ending injury. Instead, I had the incredible fortune of having my shoulder repaired by Dr. Franklin Jobe, team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers and founder of the “Tommy John” elbow surgery. After surgery and a rigorous rehabilitation program, my shoulder was good as new. I was no longer in pain and was back pitching and throwing harder than before. More importantly, that surgery has lasted the test of time. My shoulder still feels great and it is strong enough to play catch on a regular basis with my son and his baseball team.
My first hand experience with how a skilled orthopaedic surgeon could eliminate the pain I was feeling and literally transform my physical abilities made me a true believer in the field of orthopaedics. The best part of my job is helping patients reduce or eliminate joint pain by working with them to create a treatment plan that works for their lifestyle. Not everyone needs to throw a fast ball, but we should all feel comfortable enjoying our normal daily activities and not be impeded by physical pain.
I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan for both undergraduate studies and medical school. I love Ann Arbor and I am a Wolverine through and through. Go Blue!
After medical school, I completed a five-year Orthopaedic Residency Program at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. I had the good fortune of training under a team of incredibly gifted surgeons. During this time, I was not only taught best practices in general orthopaedics, but also in knee conditions and sports medicine which were my two areas of concentration.
After my residency, I chose to do a Fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. During this fellowship year, I was entirely focused on learning the latest surgical techniques and treatment protocols for shoulder and elbow conditions. In that year alone, I did approximately 500 shoulder surgeries, ranging from shoulder arthroscopy, total shoulder and reverse shoulder replacements, and complex shoulder revisions. This extra year of intensive training provided me with additional insights and expertise specific to shoulder conditions. With this experience, I feel confident advising my patients on the best treatment plans for their particular shoulder issue.
Nothing is more gratifying than treating patients and getting them back participating in the activities they love.
Just like people, no two patients are ever the same. I strive to understand my patients’ personal motivations for treatment. For instance, the motivation for orthopaedic treatment for a competitive athlete is quite different from those of a senior citizen, child or teenager. As your physician, it is my job to listen to your health concerns, understand your goals for treatment and evaluate your condition. Together, we will discuss different options and create a treatment plan that works best for you.
A common misconception is that a trip to an orthopedic surgeon will result in surgery as the only treatment option. More often, surgery is not required. Often, injuries can be treated with non-operative methods such as anti-inflammatory medicines, occasional cortisone injections and physical therapy. When patients do not find relief with conservative treatment, I may need further imaging studies, like an MRI, to evaluate the extent of the injury. At times, surgery is required, but that is only after we have exhausted all non-surgical treatment options.
Don’t let joint pain hold you back from the activities you love, or more importantly, from normal daily activities. If you are experiencing joint pain, I encourage you to make an appointment so I can evaluate your condition. Early treatment can often help avoid surgery down the road. My patients frequently tell me they wished they had come in earlier to see me as the pain relief they found was quite substantial.
I serve as the volunteer team physician for Coronado High School and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. This often involves doing sports evaluations and covering local games. I enjoy getting to know our local high school and college athletes and working to keep them safe and healthy.
I also volunteer as an official team physician for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox organization. As a community we are so fortunate to have a AAA baseball team in our own backyard. It is a pleasure to watch such high caliber games without the expense of Major League ticket prices. As a physician and former baseball player, it is exciting to watch and treat rising young baseball stars.
In addition, I serve the Colorado Springs community by taking call at both Penrose Main and Memorial North hospitals. While this is not a volunteer position, it is my way of giving back to the community. In many communities, every practicing orthopaedic surgeon must take some call at the local hospitals. However, this is not the case in Colorado Springs. While community call often takes me away from my family at inopportune times or keeps me at the hospital for long hours, I feel it is my duty as a physician and community member to serve all patients, with and without insurance, and to support our local hospitals.
I enjoy volunteer coaching youth baseball and basketball. It's a fun way to spend time with my son, his friends and all their terrific parents. Youth sports was a huge part of my life growing up and I am forever grateful to all the parents who coached me and to those who are now coaching my children. I applaud anyone who volunteer coaches our youth. Your time and dedication has a tremendous impact and will always be remembered by young athletes.
I love living in Colorado Springs. This is such a beautiful part of the country and I am so blessed to have the opportunity for my wife Marita and I to raise our four children here. In my free time, I enjoy coaching on my son’s baseball and basketball teams and cheering on my three daughters in youth sports. When I am not shuttling kids from one activity to the next, I love watching my Michigan Wolverines in all sports, as well as hiking, running, and downhill skiing. I am also a beginner fly fisherman and I look forward to doing more fly fishing with my family in the years to come. I welcome suggestions from patients on where are the best fishing holes in the area.