As many of you know, I believe that getting involved in sports is a great way to get and stay fit. I have been part of the Duke Lacrosse team for many years, and any time I have the opportunity to shine some light on it, I take it! The following is an interview I did about Duke Lacrosse, and it highlights some of the amazing aspects of being part of a great team and a lasting legacy.
I am thrilled to be interviewed for the Duke Women’s Lacrosse Spotlight, celebrating 20 years of Duke Lacrosse.
What are some of your favorite lacrosse memories from your time at Duke?
My favorite lacrosse memory was
During my senior year at Duke, my third year as captain and I gave a pretty heartfelt speech during a time out in the game to get to the Final Four. We were playing James Madison and losing by at least 6 goals and I decided that we were going to win and spelled out an affidavit to my teammates that this was it, the time was now and we WERE going to come out with the W and play in the Final Four. A few extra four-letter words were used…but HEY we took that trip to the Final Four.
What lessons did you take with you from your time on and off the field?
I learned many life lessons playing lacrosse. As our team was young, I was approached, by Kerstin, our coach who said I could no longer lead by example and had to be more vocal and inspiring on the field. It took some calculated effort, but I learned techniques to get the best out of my teammates. I take that strategy into the operating room, during lectures and while working with medical students and residents.
Who were some teammates that influenced you?
All of my teammates influenced me during my time at Duke. Kristin Loner an, also known as Skippy was the constant positive force in my life. She taught me, and still teaches me to live life to the fullest, laugh at yourself and understand that we (meaning Duke Women’s Lacrosse athletes) are a different breed of person—ultra competitive and insane multi-taskers—and we should embrace that.
How did your education prepare you for your professional career?
My education prepared me for my professional career by allowing me to have no fear to challenge myself to the utmost degree. While playing Duke Lacrosse, I was able to graduate with distinction through writing a thesis in the field of Analytical Chemistry. Just as much as Kerstin believed in me as a player, many faculty from the chemistry department believed in me as a researcher. Now at Yale University, I conduct research in surgical treatment for sports injuries, shoulder issues in breast cancer and ACL injury prevention.
How did you become interested in pursuing a career in the medical profession? What are some challenges and rewards of your field?
I became interested in the medical profession, first through following my father at a young age in his cardiology practice and pretending to read EKGs at 5 years old. Then, I started solidifying my path into orthopaedic surgery while shadowing Dr. Moorman, a former football player at Duke and at the time team doc for the Baltimore Ravens. We did research together and he was a wonderful mentor to me, giving me the confidence to pursue orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine.
The rewards are that I can give back to the sport that has pushed me to become a leader in my field and I get to work with athletes pursuing their dreams. The challenges are that not one surgery is ever the same—so you are constantly planning the best strategy for each patient and you have to return the athlete back to perfection in order to play at such a high level.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I enjoy seeing the passion in athletes’ eyes and the sincere desire to not let an injury keep them down. I enjoy playing a role in that process, either through surgery or through designing a rehabilitation plan for them.
Can you discuss your role with US Lacrosse and what it has been like to work with some of the nation’s top athletes? Have you enjoyed to continue to be around the sport you played in college?
Currently I am the head team physician for the United States Women’s lacrosse team. I travel with the team as they compete in national and international competitions. I work with the medical and coaching staff to keep the players injury free and playing at the top of their game. It is probably the aspect of my career of which I am most proud. I truly enjoy seeing the love and passion these players have for the sport and the dedication and work ethic they bring to the field.
What have been some keys to reaching the level of success you are at now?
The keys to my current success include—preparation and leadership.
Preparation: preparation builds confidence and calmness. My mentors in orthopaedic surgery at Yale and Harvard gave me the foundation to maintain the most up-to-date research based treatment for my patients. I constantly update myself on the latest literature in sports medicine.
Leadership: I hold positions both through Yale Orthopaedic Surgery as well as through the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine, where I serve on the Team Physician Committee. I am also involved in the Ruth Jackson Society—promoting women in orthopaedic surgery.
What advice would you give to current or future student-athletes?
WORK HARD. Duke lacrosse was a most treasured experience for me and I spent hours outside of practice, improving my stick skills in wall ball and doing extra strength and conditioning over the summers.
The same went in residency, where I would be working 90 hours a week and fixing pelvic fractures at 2 in the morning.
The road to success comes through hardwork, determination and sacrifice.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the Duke women’s lacrosse program?
Duke lacrosse changed my life. I went from being a quiet, hard-working athlete to a confident, skilled, leader and teammate. Kerstin constantly pushed me to be the best athlete and person that I could be and I didn’t think twice about going to an orthopaedic fellowship where I would be working with the top athletes in the country—in the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins.
ALSO–My teammates from Duke lacrosse have celebrated with me in the Best of Times and the Worst of times. Twenty years later, we are still there for each other: weddings, new babies, exciting careers. There are the tough times too–Most notably, when Ben, my third child was born 10 weeks early and hospitalized for 2 months, it was my lacrosse crew who started comforting me right away and arranging meals for me and encouraging words. It is truly a family like no other.
Any other fun facts about yourself, hobbies, etc.?
Along with my career as an orthopaedic surgeon and working as Team Physician for US Lacrosse, I consult on fitness and injury prevention for TV and radio. After lacrosse, I have enjoyed challenging myself to the latest and greatest workouts—cross fit, the barre method, and soul cycle. Good things come to those who sweat!
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