By: Jordan Knox, MD
About the time I became serious about wanting to go into medicine, it was to practice sports medicine. I had shadowed an orthopedic surgeon and was impressed by his ability to connect with his patients and guide them in returning to the activities they loved. But I always pictured my primary care provider when I thought of medicine — someone who you see for your regular checkups, but also the first person you see when something abnormal comes up, like illness, injuries, or questions about your body. I knew that orthopedic surgery was one avenue into caring for athletes and musculoskeletal injuries, but I always felt that I would prefer to interact with my patients when they’re awake. Besides, I wanted to be able to provide primary care as the first line of medical care.
As I wrote in my personal statement when I applied for fellowship:
“[T]he mechanism of injury interests me, and I like to teach and educate people about how the body works. I am pursuing a career in sports medicine because I find the most reward in being able to explain what was injured, how it was injured, and how to help the body heal itself, in a way each patient can understand. […] A large part of what drew me to Family Medicine was the social context of caring for patients and their family members as one big medical team. That aspect of being “part of the team” is one element I have paid attention to during medical training.”
Now I am doing exactly what I set out for — seeing musculoskeletal complaints in sports clinic with my fellowship instructors, providing event coverage for football, basketball, luge, etc., and providing comprehensive medical care one day a week in my Family Medicine clinic. But when an athlete comes into a sports clinic with a medical concern, I am able to jump in and be the medical consultant for my faculty. It’s a dream come true.
Jordan Knox, MD, is a board-certified family physician and current Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellow at the University of Utah. Jordan traveled with the University of Utah football team to the 2019 Holiday Bowl as their primary care sports medicine provider.