Classes currently teaching / have taught: ASM 3 and Sports Performance Enhancement
Where does your passion for sports medicine care stem from?
Sports medicine has been a lifelong love for me. Being a competitive athlete in high school and college fueled my desire to continue a healthy lifestyle and gave me a passion to share with those around me. This has more recently given me a great platform to engage with my patients on a personal level.
During my military career, I also felt reinvigorated by the high-performance individuals that were my brothers and sisters serving alongside me. During my time as an Undersea Medical Officer, I was constantly reminded of what was possible and achievable from an athletic standpoint within my elite special warfare community. As a physician, my goal was to maintain health and wellness, and as an officer my goal was to ensure mission success and optimize outcomes of their deployment. I truly saw these sailors and special operators as elite athletes whoperformed under intense physical and psychological pressures.
Now as a sports medicine physician, I can continue living through my patients and athletes and enjoy their success with them. I play a large part in the preparatory phase of competition trying to ensure optimal physical and psychological function to allow my athletes to focus on their outcome measures of success. During competition, I provide acute treatment to try and optimize anatomical structures to allow athletes to continue to push themselves. Following competitions, I apply treatments including osteopathic manipulative treatments to prepare the athlete to continue their season.
I truly love being able to apply a wide range of knowledge in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, nutrition and strength and conditioning in the evaluation and treatment of my patients. I believe in the importance of optimizing wellness through the relationship of medicine, health, fitness and nutrition.
What is a piece of advice you’d offer to current UWS sports medicine students?
When I think about my career and the training and educational periods I have had, I always go back to my mentors, peers and colleagues. My journey was enhanced by the interaction of all of these individuals. My advice is to really focus on those interactions and on what you can learn from one another and your professors. Mentorship teaches a lot of what you can’t learn in the books; it really gives insight into the day-to-day life of the field and the true possibilities you can have. All providers are different and we all have a different perspective on the diagnosis and treatment of patients. The hope is that we provide evidence-based and data-driven practices, but we might have unique experiences or be more modern in our technique. I tell those who I’m mentoring that I don’t want them to replicate me, but to pick one or two traits you like (e.g. ways I diagnosis, a philosophy I consider when treating patients). If you do this with all of the people who teach you and mentor you, then you will have the best attributes from all of them, that you can use when you reach your final destination.
How do you engage with the UWS mission [to advance the science and art of integrated health care through excellence in education and patient care] on a daily basis?
The UWS mission speaks to my background and how I practice integrated medicine. An integrated practice is super important with normal clinical work, educational responsibilities and advancing the field. Within sport, I work across high performance teams. This means I interact and listen to multiple experts in the field whether that be in nutrition, strength and conditioning, coaching, the players, the physiotherapist, etc. It truly takes knowledge and input from all of these departments to come up with a singular direction and treatment plan for the athlete. This has to take into consideration the outcomes measures that are important to the athlete as well as the logistics of being on a team.
The other aspect of the mission statement that resonates with me is excellence in education and patient care. I really try to make this an important aspect of what I do as a professor and physician. I aim to stay up-to-date with information and really focus on providing evidence-based, data-driven information to both my students and patients. I think that the medical landscape continues to advance and as the years pass it also quickens. The amount of data that can now be analyzed and applied in the clinical setting is growing. I try to maintain a pulse on the medical field to constantly bring in modern thoughts and tools to use in both the academic and clinical space.
What UWS core value (student-focus, best practices, curiosity, inclusiveness, professionalism, whole-person health) do you connect with the most and why?
I think the most influential UWS core value for me is whole-person health. This is most likely tied to my background as an osteopathic physician. We use many overlapping tenets and philosophies as our doctor of chiropractic colleagues and those across the integrated high-performance team. We believe the body is a unit and as such its interconnected and related. This model really fits with the model of tensegrity that we teach throughout a lot of our courses. I also find this to be very relevant in training principles and rehabilitation protocols that appreciate the fascial organ as being very integrated to evaluation and treatment. On a more global perspective, I also think this ties into my osteopathic and holistic philosophy of medicine. My primary job as a physician is to evaluate the patient in front of me and the current dagnosis at hand. I must then develop an immediate treatment pathway for that patient. My job then begins to appreciate the entire patient osteopathically and holistically to consider why this diagnosis developed in the first place and how this diagnosis ties into their life. Does the diagnosis affect their activities of daily living? Does it affect their ability to work or go to school? Is there a psychological perspective that either led to this diagnosis or will be influenced by the diagnosis? I really try to consider the entire spectrum of interaction across the physical and psychological, and center the osteopathic principle of mind, body and spirit to my patient interactions as a basis of that interaction.
What is your favorite way to relieve stress?
I try to practice what I preach and thus my typical stress relief is found in the hot, loud volume, safe space of a gym. I find I am able to ground myself through self-discipline and self-direction. Working out allows me to really focus my thoughts and actions internally to work on self-healing and self-thought. I love being able to have firsthand knowledge of the treatment plans I prescribe to include physical activity and wellness focus. I also don’t mind the preworkout supplement and caffeine spike to get me over my next personal record attempt in a lift.
I would say I also find solace and relaxation with my family. Although typically seen as stressful, raising two little girls (a one-year-old and two and a half year old), I find such peace when I return home from a long day of work to my girls getting excited that daddy is home. My wife and I really stick to a Montessori way of teaching and to see our little girls advance in knowledge, speech and skills, is such a sanctuary for me.