Non-Surgical Healing for Sports Injuries

Dr. Scott Johnson

Sports Medicine Specialist, Scott Johnson, MD, provides alternatives for those avoiding surgery

Approximately 90 percent of all sports related injuries will not require surgery to heal, but they will require Sports Medicine specialists like Scott Johnson, MD, of Sports Orthopedic and Spine to provide the latest advancements in orthopedic care. As a sports medicine physician, Johnson is a valuable member of the clinic's team, both in the office and on the sidelines.

Johnson, a Wyoming native, earned his undergraduate degree in natural science and math from the University of Wyoming. After two years of medical school out of the States, he transferred to the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta to complete his degree. He remained at the Medical College of Georgia to complete a one-year internal medicine internship, train in emergency medicine and complete a residency in family medicine.

Johnson knew that he wanted to combine his interest in sports with medicine but was not drawn to the surgical side of medicine. A sports medicine certification was the answer to his dilemma. Sports medicine physicians specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and are Board Certified in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics or Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation. They have completed one to two years of additional fellowship training in Sports Medicine, which includes significant specialized training in both the treatment and prevention of illness and injury. To earn a Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine, the physician must pass a national Sports Medicine certification examination, which must be renewed every 10 years.

"The operating room is not something that appeals to everyone. I felt that I could make as much of a difference by bringing my family practice background into play and viewing the patient from that perspective," said Johnson. "There are many sports injuries that do not require surgery, such as sprains and strains, that I can help the athlete recover from and get back to playing. For non-surgical patients, I can diagnose the issue and develop an appropriate treatment plan. For patients who require surgery, I can order tests necessary for the surgeon to do what needs to be done.

While in the first year of his family practice residency, 9/11 occurred and reignited Johnson's interest in serving in the military. His father had served in the Air Force and Johnson had always thought he would serve his country in some capacity, but there never seemed to be a good time.

"With my plan to go into sports medicine, which would require a fellowship, I knew that now was probably the best, if not the only, time to serve my country," said Johnson. "So, I joined the Air Force in my first year of residency and earned a monthly stipend until I completed it. I then served on active duty for three years, one year for each year I had received the stipend plus one additional year."

Johnson was stationed at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi where he completed a primary course in aerospace medicine and served as a flight surgeon. He also became involved in aircraft mishap investigation. He was selected to serve on investigation boards for mishaps in Arizona and Oklahoma. Johnson served on an initial investigation team for his primary base in Columbus gathering information in the first three days after an accident that was then turned over to the investigation board.

After leaving the Air Force in June 2009, Johnson completed a one-year fellowship in primary care sports medicine at Beacon Orthopedics in Cincinnati, Ohio. Part of his training included working with the team physician for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, as well as with athletic programs at Xavier University and Wittenberg College.

In 2010, Johnson completed his fellowship and joined the staff of Sports Orthopedic and Spine as their first full-time sports medicine physician. "Sports medicine physicians were becoming the norm in orthopedic practices. The practice had a part-time sports medicine physician prior to my arrival and saw the benefit of having one on staff," said Johnson. "I can see, evaluate and diagnose most problems, whether they are sports related or not and I specialize in concussion management as well as ultrasound guided injections. Since I am in the Jackson office five days a week and the orthopedists tend to rotate to satellite offices, patients can usually get in to see me within 24-48 hours. I also help provide sideline coverage for area teams."

One of Johnson's favorite duties at Sports Orthopedic is his work educating students and family practice residents. "We have several groups of residents each year who do a monthly rotation through the clinic. We also host athletic training students for six weeks," he said. "Getting to work with and help teach these students is something I find to be very rewarding."

Another team that ranks high for Johnson is his family. He married his wife Christy while in college and today their family includes two elementary aged boys, Brooks and Braxton. "Family is first for me and we spend a lot of time traveling and going to sports events together," he said. "Our faith and church are also a high priority for us. We try to serve and help others when we can. I am a Sunday school teacher and we have all done work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with organizations such as RIFA and through mission work in California."


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