October 11, 2021
Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine’s Robert Rolf, M.D. grew up in Cincinnati. He graduated from La Salle High School and then attended the University of Notre Dame where he earned a BS in Chemical Engineering.
When he was young, he was deeply and positively influenced by his uncle – a true father figure to him — Dr. Robert Burger, an orthopedic surgeon at Beacon Orthopedics. Dr. Burger is also a Notre Dame alum and always thought his nephew should attend medical school – and pursue orthopedics too. The young Robert wasn’t so sure.
As the son of two teenagers, he was the first in his family to graduate high school and attend college and had always been personally driven to succeed. Pursuing the engineering degree seemed a good fit and it was a great way into his early career. For two years after graduation he worked in engineering sales, however, the personal lure of becoming a physician was still inside him.
He turned his sights to medical school, attending the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. At first, he was open to all specialties, but the more he studied and experienced, he kept being drawn to orthopaedics so that became his focus. “It seemed that the orthopedists I met and learned from (including my uncle) were well rounded – they were hardworking, athletic, committed to academic pursuits and still family centric,” Dr. Rolf said. “It just seemed a good fit for me too.”
Upon graduation from UC, Dr. Rolf completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He continued his training as a shoulder and elbow specialist at the Boston Shoulder Institute at Harvard University. He is board-certified in orthopaedic surgery and holds a specialty certificate in Sports Medicine. He is the first to tell you that his practice is much more than simply treating athletes. “Shoulder pain can be debilitating,” he said. “And sometimes that pain needs the attention of an orthopedic specialist.” He shared that his goal is to help people live as pain-free as possible.
He has extensive training and years of experience in advanced arthroscopic techniques for shoulder instability and rotator cuff tears. He has also performed numerous complex shoulder reconstructive procedures such as total shoulder replacement and reverse shoulder replacement. He has truly become an expert.
Dr. Rolf relayed that he is most proud when his patients tell him that he’s “given them their lives back” – lessening or even eliminating their pain. Using his education, training and experience to help patients is what inspires him and in turn, his experience, personal training and dedication is inspirational to his patients. For athletes and non-athletes alike, that is a winning combination.
Beyond his patient service, Dr. Rolf is committed to helping future practitioners. One example of that commitment is his past role as the Co-Director of the Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine sports medicine fellowship program. This unique and highly competitive fellowship offers training to surgeons throughout the country about sports medicine and shoulder surgery. He hopes this work will be a positive influence on future practitioners. He wants to share what he experienced with is uncle and many other committed adults who took an interest in him throughout his youth and professional education and training.
“I truly have been blessed,” Dr. Rolf said. “My parents were only teenagers when they had me. My mother raised 3 boys on her own and never expected anything other than maximal effort.” He is a testament to knowing that hard work and dedication matter. Not only has it influenced his own career, but he purposefully shares that with all students he works with. “No matter what tough cards you’ve been dealt in life,” he said. “You can work to overcome obstacles and reach your goals.”
When not at work, he is with his wife and family. His free time is consumed happily with the interests and lives of their four active children.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain, contact Dr. Rolf or one of the more than 60 physicians at Beacon. Beacon Orthopaedics treats patients of all ages for various injuries and ailments – including shoulder difficulty. If you or someone you love is experiencing pain (whether from a sports injury or just usual exertion), you can always schedule a diagnostic appointment at one of the 20+ locations Beacon Orthopaedics has to offer in Greater Cincinnati.
Schedule an appointment 24/7 online or by calling 513-354-3700. More than twenty Beacon Tri-state locations are accepting new patients.