July 16, 2015
Dr. James Andrews of the Andrews Institute was honored with an induction into the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine Hall of Fame. This is a huge honor for the doctor, but also very exciting for some of the physicians at Beacon Orthopaedics.
During the brief moment that Dr. Andrews spent summarizing his past, he listed Jack Hughston, Bob Kerlan, and Don O’Donoghue. He noted that, “to be alongside guys like that is something.” He also mentioned the influences of Jack Nicklaus and Jerry Pate.
However, for a physician like Dr. Andrews, much of his career was dedicated to advancing the profession of sports medicine. It was Andrews that blazed the trail for arthroscopic procedures. Fellows and doctors would travel far and wide to learn from the legendary doctor. Andrews focused on education and injury prevention, and he feels that is where his true legacy lies.
“There are so many great surgeons out there now,” he explained at an event on Wednesday evening. “They’re as good as I am and in the future it will be better. Guys like Neal ElAttrache, Tim Kremchek, Lyle Cain, Jeff Dugas… I hate lists because I’ll leave someone off, but we’ve been able to advance things with the fellowship programs and the ASMI conferences.”
For Dr. Tim Kremchek of Beacon, being mentioned by Dr. Andrews was a big honor. Like Dr. Andrews, Cincinnati’s own Dr. Kremchek spends much of his focus on preventing injuries. In both Dr. Andrew’s and Dr. Kremchek’s experiences, it seems that much of the preventative information doesn’t make it to parents. If the coaches know that a high school athlete should only be pitching one game a week, they are able to adjust practices and pitchers accordingly. Unfortunately, many young athletes find themselves on two or three Little League teams, unbeknownst to their coaches.
Dr. Andrews warned, “It used to be that the major leagues had more Tommy John surgeries than anyone, but that’s turned on its head. I used to do 7 or 8 Tommy John surgeries on kids in 2000. Now I’m doing 70 or 80 a year, so we’ve got to fix this or there’s not going to be anyone to draft.”
Andrews has done a lot to prevent the common injuries on which he built his thriving practice. “The whole profession of sports medicine has been remiss at prevention. We spend so much time trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together that we haven’t been able to get him off that wall.” He thinks reaching the parents is the problem.
Dr. James Andrews is now in the Hall of Fame for the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine. While he continues to educate athletes and parents about preventative actions, his education on fellows and other physicians is not lost. They are all working toward a common goal: eliminating preventable sports injuries through education.