Another great season of high school football is in the books! Congratulations to all the hard-working teams who finished out the season with State titles: Fayetteville, Russellville, Pulaski Academy, Warren, Prescott and Mount Ida. For 20 years, Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics has demonstrated its commitment to high school athletes. As a long-time sponsor of Arkansas Activities Association (AAA), which oversees high school athletics, we consistently have doctors rotating on the sidelines of Friday night games to help assist in any medical emergency, including at playoff games. During the sports season, the group also offers a Saturday walk-in clinic with Dr. Eric Gordon, Dr. Kirk Reynolds, Dr. Ethan Schock and Dr. James Tucker.
Not only has Dr. Gordon worked as the team doctor for North Little Rock High School (10 years) and Catholic High School (eight years), he and Drs. Reynolds, Schock and Tucker also assist during the AAA playoff games. “It’s more of a service to the smaller schools,” explains Dr. Gordon. “Some won’t have trainers or doctors with them. The bigger schools typically have a physician that helps them out.”
Approximately 500,000 football injuries occur each year – twice as many as any other sport – a statistic that makes their Saturday clinic so relevant. Says Dr. Gordon, “Some kids who are injured at football games Friday night need to be seen before Monday. Most do not need to go to the ER, but parents and coaches want to know the prognosis.”
Even though there are obvious dangers with any intense physical activity, there are many positive aspects to organized youth sports. In fact, high school athletes are some of Dr. Gordon’s favorite to treat. “I enjoy working with high school athletes because they are healthy to start with,” he says. “That’s a good population to work with because they want to get better. They are motivated to get better. It’s fun to see them back on the field.”
Dr. Gordon particularly enjoyed attending the AAA playoff game featuring North Little Rock because he has worked with the team so long. It was fun for him to watch the Russellville game live because that is his alma mater. Although he did not play football, he played basketball and ran track in high school. “I can still be involved. I can still be part of the team long after my career in high school sports is over,” he jokes. “My favorite part about being the team doctor is seeing the athletes as sophomores and watching them throughout the years as they play.”