HOI's sports-like culture, the manpower shortage in orthopedics & more from Dr. Damien Richardson

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Former NFL player Damien Richardson, MD, recently joined the medical staff of Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, Calif.

Dr. Richardson, who played in the NFL for seven years as a strong safety for the Carolina Panthers, talked to Becker's Spine Review about his latest career move, his NFL experience, and the future of his specialty.

Note: Responses were lightly edited for style and clarity.

Question: Why did you decide to join HOI?

Dr. Damien Richardson: I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to work with HOI. Throughout my academic and athletic careers, I have had the good fortune to be part of some fantastic organizations, and HOI is one of the best. When meeting with HOI leadership, physicians and clinical staff, it was clear that this is a special place where I would be proud to build a practice. I believe HOI is a place where I can grow as an orthopedic surgeon within our community and at a national level.

Q: How does your experience as an NFL player inform and enhance your orthopedic practice?

DR: The one thing that sports teaches you is the value of real teamwork and the effort it takes to be successful. Football is an amazing sport because winning depends on many different factors. It starts with leadership and a plan for success. Then, you need talented people at every level who believe in that plan and are willing to sacrifice to accomplish a common goal. Finally, you need resources and support from the fans and community. After a while, you develop a brand that people are proud of, and we all work to improve and maintain it. HOI has all of these elements, and I am inspired by the group's continual ambition to do more for the community and the specialty of orthopedics.

Q: What do you think is the most pressing issue for your specialty right now?

DR: The most pressing issue right now is manpower. Our country needs more orthopedic surgeons across the board, and [the] foot and ankle [specialty] is particularly under-populated. There is a tremendous amount of musculoskeletal disease out there, and by most statistics, it is outpacing the number of orthopedic residents that graduate each year. Foot and ankle has seen this firsthand with the number of vacancies in accredited fellowship programs each year. This in turn creates gaps in our delivery of quality orthopedic healthcare nationwide.

Want to participate in future Q&As? Email Angie Stewart: astewart@beckershealthcare.com.

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