Love of sports led doctor to her field
Jessica Brewer, LMH Health
Having been a student-athlete herself, Dr. Emily Heronemus fell in love with being around sports and the excitement and dedication athletes have for their sport. When she joined the OrthoKansas team two years ago, she knew she wanted to be involved in college sports.
“When I joined the OrthoKansas team and heard about the work Dr. Stephan Pro was doing out at Baker University, I immediately showed interest and wanted to be involved,” Dr. Heronemus said. “I was able to step in as the primary care sports medicine provider and it has been a joy to see the demand continue to grow and grow. I have always loved the training room setting, sideline coverage and seeing the athletes’ passion. They are a fun group to work with and are incredibly motivated to get back healthy and to playing the sport they love.”
Every week, she heads out to Baker to evaluate the athletes scheduled to see her in the training room. Though Dr. Heronemus can see athletes for general medical concerns, the visits tend to be related to musculoskeletal issues, or pain that affects bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.
“When I’m at Baker, I can do evaluations right then and there and if needed, I can see the athlete further and order an x-ray or MRI,” she said. “From there, they can be seen at an LMH Health location for imaging or at our OrthoKansas clinic where we can offer further treatment and even ultrasound-guided evaluations and injections.”
Dr. Heronemus said she also gets to work very closely with the athletic trainers at Baker who are with the athlete’s day in and day out. The collaboration between OrthoKansas and the Baker trainers is part of what creates the successful program they have.
“The athletic trainers and Baker athletic department as a whole are wonderful to work with,” she said. “Especially now during the pandemic the trainers have been so attentive to their students. When a student comes to them not feeling well, they’re able to schedule a telemedicine visit with me. I get to see them virtually and discuss their symptoms and from there order them a COVID test if indicated. Once we have results back we go from there.”
With COVID being top of mind when dealing with college athletics, Dr. Heronemus and the team make sure that a student is completely cleared to return to play after being diagnosed with the virus.
“Of course we make sure all safety guidelines are being followed and that the athletes are fully recovered, but we also make sure they are physically doing well,” she said. “We can order an EKG or other tests to make sure the athlete is safe and healthy prior to their return to play.”
Sports medicine is vital to an athlete’s care and to keeping them healthy while playing the sport they love. Despite these unprecedented times, Dr. Heronemus and the team at Baker have continued taking all needed precautions to protect themselves and the athletes, making sure their health is the number one priority.
She said it is important to have a team built with those who understand and have a broader knowledge of their athletes. Knowing the musculoskeletal system is also very important to help evaluate and diagnose their conditions.
“Our goal is to get our athletes back as healthy as possible in the right time frame,” Dr. Heronemus said. “Having the depth of knowledge this team has, we are able to get these athletes safely back to play without letting them play too soon or holding them for too long so they can get back to the sport they love in their healthiest body.”
Jessica Brewer is the social media and digital communication specialist at LMH Health.