Report from the Field: Sports Medicine Fellowship

kyle_goerlby Kyle Goerl

What a year!  As I write this blog post, I am sitting in the shoes of someone at the culmination of his medical education.  I finish my Sports Medicine fellowship recently, and it is hard to believe that this year is, for all intents and purposes, over.  To be certain, I don’t think I could be any more thrilled to be both done with my formal training, and on the exciting precipice of a new career.  Times like these tend to leave me reflective, nostalgic, and appreciative. 

As a resident here, it was always my dream to stay and take care of the athletes and community I grew to love.  Despite looking elsewhere and seriously considering other options for fellowship, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave.  A year later, it is clear to see this was an excellent choice for my own educational needs.

The opportunities available at this fellowship are too varied and numerous to count, but there were a few experiences I will not soon forget.  The year started with one of my favorite sports, football.  I took care of my own high school team in town, and they went on to win a state championship in a blizzard in November; it was epic!  Of course, we cared for the U athletes as well.  Standing on the sidelines with the best seats in the house at Rice Eccles Stadium almost didn’t seem real.  In addition to being at most home games, each fellow had the opportunity to travel with the U to an away game, and, although we got beat, I will always remember my trip to the Washington State game fondly. 

As a bicyclist, covering the Tour of Utah, which is one of the premier bike racing events in the US, was an amazing experience.  My co-fellows and I spent a week chasing the world’s best bicyclists through the mountains of Utah (fortunately we were in a car).  At the speeds they were riding, it kept my heart rate up knowing crashes were inevitable.

As fall transitioned to winter, our responsibilities changed as well.  At least a day a week was spent at the Park City Mountain Resort clinic taking care of skiers and snowboarders.  At the end of a busy day on the weekend or a holiday your head was spinning, but you always left a better physician and felt excited to come back soon to do it all over again.  We covered World Cup skiing events in both Utah and Colorado, and one of my co-fellows even met Shaun White while working an event in Colorado…what a job! 

One of my favorite experiences was caring for the US Speed Skating Team.  We covered the Olympic qualifying events held here at the Olympic Oval.  When these athletes raced in Sochi, it was fun to see the athletes we took care of while watching the Olympics on TV.

Beyond the sporting event coverage, there were also my educational experiences at the University Orthopedic Center.  There I spent time learning from world experts in orthopedic care, and I honed my skills in diagnostic and therapeutic musculoskeletal ultrasound and fluoroscopically guided injections.

After the last year, I have no doubt I am entering my career extremely well trained.  It is possible to obtain some of these skills and have a few of these experiences elsewhere, but I think anyone would be hard pressed to find all of them in one location like we have here.  That is why there is simply no other place I would have rather trained in Sports Medicine than right here at the University of Utah.  Go Utes!

Kyle Goerl, MD recently finished his Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of Utah. He will be working as a Sports Medicine physician with the University of Kansas Family Medicine Residency.

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