The Road to Recovery

Sports medicine physicians at South Texas Bone & Joint dedicate their time and talents to getting injured athletes back in the game.

By: Rebecca Esparza
Photos By: Jennifer Recio

When most people hear the term, “sports medicine,” images of injured performance athletes come immediately to mind. But that connotation has evolved, according to doctors at South Texas Bone & Joint, a multi-specialty, musculoskeletal practice that has served patients in the Coastal Bend area since 1972.

“We are seeing an increase in patients coming in with overuse injuries, like the laborer who develops shoulder problems or the painter who is constantly lifting,” says Dr. Charles Breckenridge, who specializes in arthroscopic, shoulder and knee surgery. “The more active you are in your day-to-day activities, the more likely you will eventually develop an overuse injury. Sports medicine is a bit of a misnomer, since we see a variety of injuries, from repetitive sports injuries to weekend accidents, like falling off a ladder.”

Breckenridge, who has been practicing medicine in Corpus Christi for the past 19 years, says he recommends surgery only as the last resort for his patients. “We actually talk a lot of people out of surgery,” he says. “Fortunately, there are many things patients can do to avoid the risks of surgery, like dedicated exercises, cortisone injections, special bracing for knees or simply avoiding the offending tasks for a period of time. Sometimes our bodies just need rest from repetitive motion.”

Raising four athletic children over the past 21 years, Breckenridge has experienced his fair share of injuries via his children, including knee injuries and broken wrists and ankles. He believes the rewards athletic children reap outweigh the potential risk of injury.

“Sports have been a main focus for my family for many years, and I have seen firsthand what an incredible discipline it is,” he says. “It keeps kids out of trouble. We see a lot of baseball injuries, and cheerleading is more dangerous than you might think. I get the most satisfaction from seeing teenage patients come back with their own children, years later. That’s an incredibly rewarding feeling as a physician.”

Helping patients receive prompt care for musculoskeletal injuries has never been easier thanks to the new Priority Care Clinic now open at South Texas Bone & Joint. A revolutionary concept in treating patients with injuries such as concussions, fractures, sprains, overuse injuries and other non-life-threatening orthopaedic emergencies, the clinic will provide a welcome alternative to overcrowded, expensive emergency room services.

Dr. Michael Montgomery recently joined the practice to oversee the Priority Care Clinic, which will be open Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 p.m., with no appointment necessary. Montgomery, who is fellowship trained in primary care sports medicine, says he’s excited to offer a clinic like this – the first of its type in South Texas.

“We see a lot of injuries involving sports, but also see ‘weekend warriors’ who may have injured themselves biking or older patients with troubling arthritic flare-ups,” he says. “It’s a broad range of injuries.”

In his role as a primary care sports medicine doctor, Montgomery will cover local high school football games and assist local trainers with the management of student injuries. Additionally, he notes an increase in concussions among young athletes, which is not taken lightly.

“It’s not so much that there is an increase in incidence of concussions, but we are more vigilant in treating head injuries, especially in children and adolescents,” he says. “We know more about head injuries. Coaches and trainers are more aware of what to look for. We now realize the severity of the complications from concussions.”

Montgomery says everyone reacts differently to brain injuries, so patients must be treated on a case-by-case basis. The younger a patient with a brain injury, the more vigilant he becomes.

“Young athletes may have to sit out longer from a concussion compared to an adult,” he says. “We don’t want them having to deal with a significant brain injury for the rest of their lives. The key is education and helping parents and coaches realize what’s at stake. Putting an athlete back out on the field too soon is not worth the risk. Our ultimate goal is to treat the injuries of all athletes and help them to get back to their sport of choice.”

Specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic knee and shoulder surgery, Dr. Bernard Seger knew from a very early age he would someday become a physician. Both of his parents were doctors, and his mother was the first Hispanic woman to receive a degree in medicine. Born and raised in Victoria, Seger eventually moved to Corpus Christi and is a senior partner at South Texas Bone & Joint who has more than 20 years at the practice.

“I had always envisioned a practice like ours, where each doctor would have their specialties, and I’m proud how we’ve been able to grow and thrive in the Coastal Bend community over the years,” he says.

An accomplished equestrian who helped train horses for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, he genuinely enjoys working with athletes get back on the road to recovery. “I’m humbled to work with athletes every day,” he says. “They are physically fit, aggressive and anxious to get back in the game. It’s incredible to see more physically fit kids than ever before. Educating these young athletes is crucial to keeping them from re-injuring themselves again in the future.”

Seger says the practice also meets with trainers at area schools to talk about ways to prevent injuries and provides physicals for the schools through their community outreach programs.

“There’s no better feeling in the world than to work with a young athlete and watch them become an elite athlete, rising through the ranks of collegiate sports,” he says. “It’s amazing to have former patients track you down to let you know how well they are doing. That’s why I do what I do. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.”

For more information about the sports medicine services at South Texas Bone & Joint, visit www.southtexasboneandjoint.com or follow the group on Facebook and Twitter. Call 361-854-0811 to make an appointment today.

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