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Sports-Medicine physicians rally around supporting University of Illinois athletes

Sports-Medicine physicians rally around supporting University of Illinois athletes
It is easy to get caught up in the pageantry that surrounds a college athletic competition for a Big Ten Conference school like the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but for the five Carle Health Sports Medicine-Orthopedics physicians who support the college’s athletic teams, it is all business as they assess the health needs of each player.

“I’m there to help when needed. I see myself as the gatekeeper of safety,” Jon Aubry, MD, who is usually found off the field at Carle McLean County Orthopedics in Bloomington and at Carle BroMenn Medical Center in Normal. Aubry attended the University of Illinois for medical school and he has always been an Illinois football fan.

“When asked to be on the field as a Carle physician supporting football, there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to pursue that,” he said. “Our opinion matters and the U of I supports that,” Dr. Aubry said. “Our goal is for the athletes to have a successful college experience.”

Illini volleyball, women’s gymnastics, women’s basketball, tennis, football, soccer and baseball all have at least one Carle physician there to support the athletes. Twisted knees, finger dislocations, concussions and any musculoskeletal injury as well as cramping and heat illness at the start of the football season are the norm and depending on how the team’s season is going, the physician’s decision regarding the time an athlete needs to recuperate from an injury can change the course of a title race in college.

“It is all about communication and trust,” Robert Bane, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and lead physician for Illini football said. As the lead physician, he carries a dedicated university cell phone and laptop 24/7 should someone need his care. Carle physicians rely heavily on athletic trainers as they make decisions regarding an athlete. Most injuries are non-operative, but some do require calling in a medical specialist, he said.

 “The focus is on the health of the athlete and there is always an element of risk, so we are there to try to minimize the risks,” Dr. Bane said.

Bringing her experience as a former Illini gymnast, Sara Dumich Abbott, MD, supports volleyball and women’s gymnastics at the university, which holds a special place in her heart.

 “I can relate to what the student athletes are going through, as I was in their shoes experiencing similar things to what they are currently. I understand the unique balances of being a student and an athlete and trying to manage classes, homework, traveling and practices. Gymnastics is a unique sport with its own language of skills and being familiar with this does help me to better understand the demands these skills put on the athlete's bodies and also helps me to understand and help to design ways with the athletic trainers and coaches to progress athletes back into their full routines when they are coming back from illnesses or injuries.”

Carle Health is proud to be the official healthcare provider of University of Illinois athletics and support the health and wellbeing of community athletes.

Categories: Staying Healthy, Community

Tags: Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Sports Medicine