A surgeon’s lasting legacy

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At the age of 72 years young, physician and author of ‘Any given monday’ Dr. James Andrews is arguably the most well-known Orthopaedic surgeon in the world. Andrews has been the go-to-guy, for the last thirty years, when it comes to treating professional and collegiate athletes. The list of athletes, that have trusted the future of their careers to the surgical skill of Andrews, is quite impressive; including but not limited to: Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley, Peyton Manning, Mariano Rivera, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and John Smoltz just to name a few. Yet, you would hardly know that Andrews is such renowned and accomplished man by listening to him speak, as he will tell you that “humility is the first step to greatness and if you don’t have humility,  you probably won’t get very far in any profession.” No doubt, a lesson he learned from his modest upbringing in north Louisiana.

In 1942, Andrews was born in the small town of Homer, Louisiana, about three hours east of Dallas. During the early 60’s, he was an undergraduate and All-SEC pole-vault champion at Louisiana State University. Ultimately Andrews stayed at LSU until he graduated from med school in 1967. After graduation, now Dr. Andrews, left Baton Rouge and headed to New Orleans, where he completed his surgical residency at Tulane.

Fast forward about a decade, as he prepares himself to perform a procedure on a patient, a young James Andrews has become starstruck by the man that lies on his table awaiting operation. This particular patient is not just any patient, this is Jack Nicklaus, the number one golfer in the world. Andrews begins to gather his focus, and he proceeds with the procedure. Just months later, Nicklaus would go on to win the Masters. About six months later, Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens won the American League Cy Young, with the throwing shoulder that had been surgically repaired by Dr. Andrews. Both of these major successes put Andrews on the map as one of the best specialist in sports medicine.

Fast forward to the present and Dr. Andrews is still the best Orthopaedist in sports medicine. He has performed over 2,500 Tommy John procedures, more than anyone else in the world. He has performed over 40,000 surgeries; and to this day, performs over 1,100 surgeries per year. Most notably in recent years he has operated on Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, LeBron James and Braxton Miller just last year.

After all he has accomplished, Dr. Andrews surely has nothing left to prove in his profession. Through medicine, he has left his mark on the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA and NCAA. Yet, he shows no signs of slowing down. He still makes himself available, not only to the rich and famous but to the average joe as well, as he strives to help more and more patients each day. Not only is Dr. Andrews striving help patients surgically but he continues his research, at the Andrews Institute, on sports mechanics in an effort to mitigate preventable injuries. Dr. Andrews has not only changed patient care with respect to Orthopaedic surgery, he has extended the careers of thousands of athletes.

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