By Lt. Col. Matt Posner, MD, Fellowship DirectorJuly 28, 2017
The idea of a Sports Medicine fellowship, at West Point, started with Dr. John A. Feagin, Jr., team physician and Chief of Orthopaedics in 1970, who recognized the enormous volume of soft tissue injuries in cadets, due to the physical demands of the curriculum. The idea continued to be nurtured with successive orthopaedists, Dr. Bob Protzman and Dr. Walt Curl, in the mid-to-late 70's. Clinical research was done by the Keller Army Community Hospital (Keller) Orthopaedic staff, and slowly West Point began to develop a name within the U.S. Orthopaedic Community for having expertise in Sports Medicine.
In 1985-86, Col. Jack Ryan, then Keller's Chief of Orthopaedics, designed and implemented the U.S. Army Joint & Soft Tissue Trauma Fellowship. The fellowship was initially divided into two years. The first year was the basic science year conducted at Letterman Army Institute of Research (LAIR) San Francisco, Calif., and the second was the clinical year conducted at Keller, West Point, New York. The first fellow began training in 1988 and arrived at West Point in 1989. The research program moved from LAIR in 1994 to the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
On October 8, 2004, the fellowship program was renamed from the U.S. Army Joint and Soft Tissue Trauma Fellowship to the John A. Feagin, Jr. Sports Medicine Fellowship in honor of U.S. Army (retired) Col. John A. Feagin, Jr., MC. In December 2006, with the approval from Graduate Medical Education of the Army Command, the John A. Feagin, Jr. Sports Medicine Fellowship implemented training of an additional fellow for a one-year clinical rotation at Keller. Beginning in July 2007, two fellows would undergo the clinical year training, at Keller, combined with a clinical research experience.
Our relationship with the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the top hospital in the country for orthopaedic surgery, also bears mentioning. Since the inception of our fellowship, our clinical fellows have rotated on the Sports Medicine Service at HSS. This is always a highlight of the clinical year for our graduates. This relationship is now formalized as HSS is our sponsoring institution for American Council of Graduate Medical Education. Furthermore, we continue to grow our collaboration with HSS, under the leadership of Dr. Anil Ranawat and Dr. Bryan Kelly.
The fellowship has broadened to include a three-month rotation at the Hospital for Special Surgery with a New York City apartment, and 1-week rotation with Dr. Gregory Fanelli performing multi-ligamentous knee surgery and wet-labs.
The mission of the Sports Medicine Fellowship is to develop an expert in the field devoted to improving care of soldiers, innovation in improving rehabilitative and surgical care, and commitment to research.
Fellowship graduates train orthopaedic residents at various military medical centers or are assigned to one of several Army Medical Facilities with large troop concentrations.
The Fellowship is recognized as fully accredited by the American Council of Graduate Medical Education, the Residency Review Committee, and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.