Dr. Samuel Brown gives future Olympians the sporting touch

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 8, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The need for medical care doesn’t work on a set schedule, so the people that provide health care can’t either.

When Dr. Samuel Brown, a Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, Inc.(SMOC)-affiliated orthopedic surgeon arrived in Colorado Springs in mid-August, he found out just how true that statement was. On call 24-hours-a-day for two weeks, Brown helped future Olympians at the U.S. Olympic Training Center with everything from broken bones to intestinal disorders.


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&uot;I was in what I’d call a ‘sports coma’,&uot; laughs Brown, who is associated with Obici Hospital and the SMOC office at 150 Burnett’s Way. &uot;I was overwhelmed with the level of athletes.&uot; The only Virginian, Brown was one of approximately 25 physicians chosen to assist Olympic Training Centers nationwide (he was also chosen to go in 2002, but was prevented by scheduling conflicts).

&uot;It was a pretty amazing place,&uot; he recalls of the center. &uot;They had huge swimming pools, gyms for wrestling, even a shooting center and a velodrome for cycling.&uot; This is the bowl-shaped area with raised edges in which competitive indoor cycling events are held.

The athletes, training for next year’s Olympics in Athens, Greece, were just as amazing. One gymnast, Brown said, suffered a fractured femur (thigh bone) during a vaulting event. &uot;He had to have a rod put through the bone to stabilize it, and then flew to Colorado. We kept an eye on him for two or three days, and a week after his accident, he was already doing light maneuvers.&uot;

Such drive and intensity is quite common among Olympic-caliber athletes, he continued. &uot;There’s a saying among them: ‘It’s not every four years – it’s every day.’ These people train diligently for years for one event. Their level of self-discipline is incredible. They work at it every day.

&uot;They usually have a very short recovery time. They’re very driven, and they have a real desire to get back to their sports. They do exactly what we tell them so they don’t get behind.&uot;

Brown is used to working with athletes; after receiving his medical doctorate from the Medical College of Virginia, four years of residency at Duke University (he’s still a diehard Blue Devil fan), and six years of orthopedic surgical residency, he performed a one-year fellowship in sports medicine at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Since this was during the Los Angeles Lakers’ glory days of the mid-1980s, Brown was able to work with such legends as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. He also helped heal members of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Dr. Jobe was the team physician), the Los Angeles Kings, then-Los Angeles Rams, and the jockeys at Hollywood Park Race Track.