FMC Physicians Are Tackling Injuries On The Field

It was a year Colten Schooley had been waiting for his whole life.

As the former Lancaster High School senior took the field for the Lancaster vs. Twinsburg football game, he felt invincible and unstoppable. But in an instant, everything changed.

Youth Sports InjuriesHalfway through the game, Colten tore his anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, when his leg was crushed during a pile-up. The ACL, one of four major ligaments in a person’s knee, requires extensive reconstruction and rehabilitation when torn.

“I cried when I found out it was my ACL,” Colten said. “I knew I couldn’t be a captain to my team and I knew my season was over. I lost all hope.”

Standing on the sidelines that night was Fairfield Medical Center physician Keith Hollingsworth, M.D., who serves as the team physician for Lancaster High School. It was Dr. Hollingsworth who surgically repaired Colten’s ACL and saw him through six months of rehabilitation. Colten wasn’t able to return to football his senior year, but Dr. Hollingsworth encouraged and helped him prepare for the upcoming baseball season instead.

“For me, having Dr. Hollingsworth there that day when I fell, it felt like kind of an angel, someone who can save you or help you,” said Colten, who now helps coach football for Lancaster High School. “While I couldn’t return to football, he got me into catching for baseball within five months of my surgery. He was looking out for my best interests.”

The goal of a high school team physician is to provide education and medical attention to athletes, particularly in high-contact sports such as football. Team physicians also work closely with the school’s athletic trainers.

Youth Sports Injuries 2John Sutter, M.D., also volunteers his time locally as a team physician for Fairfield Union High School. Dr. Sutter is with Fairfield Healthcare Professionals Family Medicine of Bremen; FHP is a multidisciplinary, non-profit physician group practice owned and operated by FMC to provide affordable access to local medical services.

“I made my hobbies and interests known to FMC in the very beginning,” Dr. Sutter said. “I’m all about getting involved in the community and giving back, so I thought it would be a fun experience if there was a football team in the area that needed some help, just to be on the sidelines.”

As part of the team physician role, Dr. Hollingsworth and Dr. Sutter both have a consistent presence at Friday night football games because of the higher incidence of injuries occurring with this sport.

 “I’m there as a consultant to the trainers, for everything from minor bumps and scrapes to major injuries,” Dr. Hollingsworth said. “I’m available 24 hours a day to the trainer; they can call me if I need to see someone right away. I’ll make sure that patient gets into the office to see me, typically within 24 hours or less.”

Dr. Sutter agreed; “If the trainer needs an opinion on who needs to go to the hospital or who can return to play after a stinger or potential concussion, I’m there to give the medical advice,” he said.

Dr. Hollingsworth and Dr. Sutter have a background in working with athletes and said they enjoy volunteering their time on the sidelines during football season.

“Working as a team physician keeps me young and reminds me of the enthusiasm I had for sports when I was that age,” Dr. Hollingsworth said. “The kids have great personalities and a willingness to continue to get better, stronger and faster, and to compete in the sport. If they do have an injury, their attitude is always to get back on the field.”

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