Sports Injury Survivor
By Baptist Health Foundation
Millions of football fans watched as University of Miami star running back, Willis McGahee, suffered what’s known as one of the 10 worst sports injuries as University of Miami played Ohio State for the 2003 Fiesta Bowl National Championship. McGahee was expected to become one of the top NFL draft picks going into his final college game, but the game was about to change. The announcer proclaimed, “That is a serious knee injury.” Another asked, “Is his career over?” The announcers were speechless. McGahee boarded a plane back to Miami where he was immediately taken to Doctors Hospital to meet his soon-to-be surgeon, Dr. John Uribe. Déjà vu set in as doctor and patient recalled an earlier knee surgery on his LCL, from his school days at Central High – the bond seemingly renewed.
Extensive surgery was performed to the ACL, MCL and PCL. Intensive daily rehab with total body workouts inspired by his brother kept him on track seven days a week. No holidays. Draft Day came, and just as expected, Willis McGahee was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round. “I’ll never forget this phone call. Tom Donahoe, then general manager of the Buffalo Bills, said `Do you want to be a Buffalo Bill?’ `Yea,’ I replied, `When you guys thinking about picking me?’ `We’re going to pick you right now. Congratulations,’ said Mr. Donahoe. His life had changed. Willis McGahee went on to a successful 10-year National Football League career playing for four teams. Today at age 32, he feels he has another shot – all thanks to a genuine bond, a successful surgery and a trust in Doctors Hospital.
The Doctors Hospital Youth Athletic Outreach Program was there for Willis in high school and it’s there now – for thousands of young athletes at 37 Miami-Dade Public Schools. Every spring and fall, Doctors Hospital physicians provide pre-participation athletic screenings, football game coverage, continuing education seminars, voluntary electrocardiogram (EKG) screenings, the Baptist Outpatient Concussion Program, youth event athletic training coverage, and the Concussion Reduction program that allow young players and their parents to enjoy the many Little League, Pop Warner and other weekend sports games that are a part of our culture. With support from our donors, the physicians of the Doctors Hospital Youth Athletic Outreach Program can continue to provide these much needed services at no cost to our current and future athletes in elementary, middle and high school across Miami Dade County.