|UMHSUMHS Internal Home Hospitals & Health CentersU-M Medical School|
Physicians at MedSport may be Michigan fans, but that doesn’t mean they reserve their high standards of medical care solely for U-M athletes. It’s true that MedSport physicians are highly involved in caring for U-M—and Eastern Michigan—athletes, but their work goes beyond college students, bringing the Michigan Difference to athletes around the world.
Take Bruce Miller, M.D., for example. In addition to his work as a team physician for U-M and Eastern athletes, he also takes his “medical show on the road” while caring for the USA Rugby Team and the USA Ski Team. Miller thinks of himself as a mini-ER while traveling, quickly assessing injuries, triaging and delivering the best care possible—even if it’s on skis, wearing a 60-pound trauma backpack.
“As a sports medicine surgeon, one of my greatest challenges is treating a serious injury in a foreign country,” Miller says. “I want to practice the U-M standard of care wherever I am in the world, and this requires a lot of planning and contingency plans.”
Miller recently treated a young American athlete who suffered a cervical spine injury at the Rugby World Cup in France. Faced with a packed stadium, numerous television cameras and the communication challenges of a French-speaking medical staff, Miller recognized the importance of using a team approach to provide emergent transport to a medical facility. He received excellent support from the French medical staff and the patient is recovering.
Jon Sekiya, M.D., is another MedSport physician caring for the U-M and Eastern Michigan athletic teams. Sekiya completed his residency at U-M in 2001 and later cared for the Navy SEALS for three years. Because these sailors spend time at sea, on land and in the air, their injuries were varied.
“I saw many different types of injuries because of all the physical activity SEALS perform,” Sekiya says. “I saw knee and shoulder injuries from parachuting and other typical sporting injuries from running and swimming.”
Sekiya recalls a SEAL who needed shoulder surgery to repair torn cartilage. Because he had an important mission coming up, he asked Sekiya to do a minimal procedure with less recovery time—so he wouldn’t miss the opportunity to serve his country. When he returned, Sekiya performed the complete surgery and the SEAL recovered fully. “He was truly dedicated,” Sekiya says. “He wouldn’t have missed the mission for anything. As his surgeon, I had to help him get there.”
Sekiya agrees that working at UMHS equates excellence in care. He is happy to be back, working in partnership with several of the mentors who trained him during residency.