Get to Know Sports Medicine Interest Group

The Sports Medicine Interest Group (SMIG) is one of many student organizations on campus, but here’s one thing that’s special about it: What other group gives students the chance to meet team physicians from organizations like the Cleveland Indians?

Second-year College of Medicine student Pranav Bollavaram shares more about the group.

If you join SMIG, does it mean you have to choose a career in sports medicine?

PB: Joining SMIG will not commit you to sports medicine for life – it will broaden your horizons on the array of medical subspecialties available.

What does it mean to be a sports medicine physician?

PB: There are a number of diverse ways that sports medicine physicians can impact the field of medicine. Sports medicine is very accessible as a viable career path for an aspiring physician. It encompasses so many different procedures and diagnoses and provides a different angle on patient care than other specialties.

Sports medicine physicians may do anything from treating acute trauma suffered by a high school football player to managing a chronic illness, such as asthma in a recreational runner. It also gives the physician a leadership role in that he/she will be responsible for the long-term management of a medical team surrounding a patient. A sports medicine physician can coordinate with other specialty physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and even coaches to treat injury and prevent further complications.

Tell us a little more about your student organization.

PB: SMIG is focused on educating medical students about the different branches of sports medicine and introducing them to the lifestyle and career of a physician involved in the field.

What is the purpose of having a sports medicine interest group?

There is a lot of misinformation about sports medicine careers and although the name is self-explanatory, the fine details of sports medicine are not fully understood. SMIG looks at both the surgical and non-surgical sides of sports medicine, -- in other words, orthopedic surgery versus family medicine.

We bring in guest speakers of all sorts to speak about their time in the field. Notable speakers include two NEOMED grads. Kim Stearns, M.D. (’85), the Cleveland Indians’ head physician, spoke of his experience as an orthopedic surgeon now working as a team physician.

Last year we also had the opportunity to attend an event with the Youngstown Phantoms ice hockey team and speak with their team physician, Paul Watanakunakorn, M.D. (’98).

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