Sports Medicine with Dr. Joyce
It was somewhat fortuitous. One of my senior partners was a team physician for the Kansas City Royals. When we were residents, we actually manned the first aid station at Kauffman Stadium. I also sold beer at the stadium when I was a medical student, so I was involved with baseball for a long time. Then I joined as team physician as well. Our first spring training was in 1979. That was my introduction to sports medicine.
It was a very rewarding experience. We participated in the 1980 World Series and the 1985 World Series. I’m now physician emeritus, meaning I’m retired, but obviously I got to watch and enjoy with the rest of the community our comeback to the World Series in 2014.
The advantages of having an orthopedic doctor treat your sports injury is having a physician who knows what techniques are available, and someone with contacts around the country who can consult and offer advice on treatment. That knowledge comes from seeing a lot of different athletic injuries and having a breadth of experience in treating not only recreational athletes, but also elite athletes. Being in the trenches, in baseball particularly, we’re in spring training for four to six weeks and see a lot of injuries, and I’ve worked with trainers who have a lot of expertise in treating sports injuries. I’ve learned a lot from training staff and coaching staff over the years, and I’ve watched lots of pitching sessions and catching sessions, learning their techniques. I think all that goes into the total experience of being able to treat patients with sports medicine techniques.
MRI examinations in particular have advanced — we can see the soft tissue much more clearly now. It used to be that we had to rely on physical exams and injecting dye into joints, so today’s MRI technology has made diagnosis a lot more accurate. There have also been marked advances in arthroscopic surgery, which enables us to treat injuries with less scar tissue and better outcomes.