Dr. Brian Cole, head team physician for the Chicago Bulls and co-team physician for the Chicago White Sox traveled to Kenya to share his sports medicine prowess with doctors who desperately needed proper training and equipment for treating injured athletes. Dr. Cole, from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, accompanied by his 14 year-old son Ethan and physician assistant, Kyle Pilz, delivered over 500 pounds of equipment donated by medical device and surgical supply companies. Surgery was performed on injured athletes who otherwise had limited or no access to care, and local doctors were educated on the latest sports medicine techniques used in the U.S.
The 10-day mission was in collaboration with Cure International, a network of charitable hospitals and surgical programs that deliver life-changing medical care to families with treatable conditions. Many athletes there have hobbled around for years with neglected knee, shoulder and joint problems. In Kijabe, sports injuries often take a backseat to other more treatable injuries. That’s because doctors aren’t familiar with how to treat them and due to a lack of equipment and other resources. “The root of what we do as orthopedic surgeons is to help people regain an active, pain-free life-style,” Dr. Cole admits. “We are lucky to live in a country that provides quality healthcare to everyone. I look forward to providing care to those who aren’t so lucky and to make a difference in their lives. I hope to leave behind a legacy of sports medicine trained physicians who will continue to change lives.”
We are educating the Kenyan orthopedic surgeons who are eager to learn and very capable of doing these surgeries. With a little more experience, they will be able to perform these surgeries on a regular basis. With help from these physicians, we performed the first ever arthroscopic shoulder stabilization surgery on a rugby player in Kenya! We also performed an ACL patellar tendon auto graft at a Kijabe hospital. This surgery is rarely done in Kenya. The Kenyans are warm and loving people. It’s the simple things that make a difference in this country. They are so appreciative of our help. But we are the biggest winners because we have made new friends. They have touched our lives forever. Kyle, Ethan and I look forward to sharing our experience with others.