We are so excited about our latest interview with Catherine Logan, MD, MBA, MSPT! She is a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon, a writer, and a former physical therapist and physical trainer! She is also the Head League Physician for the Premier Lacrosse League and a team physician for US Ski & Snowboard. Dr. Logan sat down with us to discuss her path to sports medicine, her career as an orthopedic surgeon, and her experience working with elite athletes. Whether you’re an aspiring sports medicine professional or an athlete looking to expand your knowledge (or both!), this interview is for you! We hope you enjoy this as much as we did!
YT: What inspired you to pursue a career in sports medicine?
CL: My sister sustained three ACL tears, three years in a row. Each time she returned to sport, she sustained an additional rupture pretty quickly. This occurred in the early 90’s when the surgical technique and rehab protocols were quite different, but being with her on this journey exposed me to the various providers she need along the way – surgeons, therapists, trainers, etc.
YT: Being both a physical therapist and an orthopedic surgeon, you have an extremely unique background and set of expertise. How has your training as a physical therapist impacted your work as an orthopedic surgeon? In hindsight, would you have directly pursued orthopedic surgery?
CL: There is a real dearth of training on rehab following surgery during orthopaedic surgery training; it is a bit of an afterthought. Similarly, in PT school, there is very little time dedicated to understanding surgical indications, technique and the perioperative process. With my combined experience I have a thorough understanding of the patient’s experience, which helps me better prepare patients for recovery, set expectations, and also empathize with their path.
YT: Describe a typical week in your life as an orthopedic surgeon. How do you achieve work-life synergy? How do you take time for yourself while juggling a busy schedule?
CL: I operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and see patients on these opposing days. My days vary, which I like. I incorporate exercise testing into my post-operative and non-operative patient follow up, and I think this keeps my days fresh.
My first son was born when I was an intern, followed by my second as a fourth year surgery resident. Like many surgical residents, I had a handful of weeks off, then you return to your 80+ work week. Things are starting to get better, but no matter how much time you have to adjust, there is a learning curve to getting to everything that needs attention. My husband has been my partner for 21 years, and he has a busy career of his own. My advice to others is to have a plan A, B and C. Stuff happens and it is silly to think things always go as planned. Be ready, be agile.
YT: What excites you about your job? What motivates you to keep going on long, challenging days?
CL: My job is a blessing. I am grateful to take care of people who need help getting back to the life they love, and engaging in the active lifestyle of Colorado. Challenging days come for all of us. I generally reset myself and my mind with exercise. I find that when I exercise, I can work through any problem I face.
YT: As the head league physician for the Premier Lacrosse League and a team physician for US Ski & Snowboard, you work with many elite athletes performing at the highest levels in their sports. What has been your greatest takeaway interacting with these athletes? How has your work with these teams differed from your standard sports medicine orthopedics?
CL: Professional athletes, particularly those at the higher end of that group, have a great deal of discipline. They are fighting for that last 5% of edge, and optimizing themselves from multiple angles. I benefit greatly from being around such positive, inspiring people who make no excuses, they simply turn any setback into an opportunity for growth.
YT: Orthopedic surgery is predominantly white and male, with females and BIPOC surgeons making up 6% and 15% of orthopedic surgeons, respectively. What are your thoughts as to why female and BIPOC surgeons are so underrepresented in orthopedics? What needs to change in the field to increase representation?
CL: So much change is needed. Not being part of a typical prototype has many important consequences. For example, an Attending surgeon – either intentionally or subconsciously – is more interested in mentoring someone who reminds them of themselves. They take that resident or student under their wing, offer advice, suggest them for opportunities (research, committees, presentations), and consequently, give them more tools to succeed. These advantages are not always provided purposely, but it occurs, and the BIPOC or female loses. Representation has to change, people need to see themselves in the field to want to be in the field.
YT: What is a common misconception or misunderstanding about orthopedic surgery that you think is essential for aspiring orthopedic surgeons to know before pursuing this career?
CL: It is physical and the training is arduous. Do you have to be a former Division I lineman? No, but you must enjoy physicality and working to improve your own physical skills.
YT: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine professional? For whom would you recommend this career?
CL: I love my job. I enjoy the balance of working with people in my clinic and continuously perfecting skills in the operating room to optimize outcomes. Sports medicine enables me to work with highly motivated individuals who demand the best from themselves and from me. That is exactly where I want to be.
YT: How can our audience connect with you on social media?
And on Oct 1: www.cosportsmed.com (new clinic)