From college sports to professional teams, from the World Cup to the World Series, sports and athletics are a favorite activity and pastime for some, and a potential career for others. Yet sports and physical activity can often result in injuries, and it takes physicians like David Mansfield, M.D., to help get athletes back into the game, on the court, and in the gym.
“I was an athlete all the way through college, so I can relate to that drive for excellence that athletes have, and the desire to get back to full health following an injury,” says Dr. Mansfield, an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine. “It’s one of the reasons I enjoy working with athletes and helping them return to their previous level of function.”
Sports medicine is a team effort
Former college tennis athlete Carolina de Luca can vouch for Dr. Mansfield’s dedication and expert care in sports medicine. Originally from Brazil, de Luca received a scholarship to attend and play tennis at the University of Texas El Paso. She arrived in 2009 and was thrilled to be playing the sport she loves. Yet the intensity of practice and competition schedules began to take their toll on her right shoulder.
“I started to feel pain in my shoulder, especially when serving,” she says. “So during my second season, I started seeing Dr. Mansfield. There was usually a long line in the training room to see him.”
But the wait was worth it — Dr. Mansfield is trusted by athletes and known for listening carefully and involving them in their treatment. “It’s not my knee or shoulder, it’s theirs,” he says. “I believe it’s important to have the athlete involved in the decision-making process.”
Finding the best course of treatment
Recalling her meetings with Dr. Mansfield, de Luca shares that he always paid attention to what she had to say about her pain and injury, and what she thought might be causing it. He worked closely with de Luca and her trainer regularly, starting with conservative approaches to treatment.
“He didn’t suggest surgery right away, and I appreciated that,” she says. “We tried different options first — icing my shoulder, rehab, and even a cortisone shot, but that only helped for two days.”
The injury wasn’t healing, and de Luca said when it was time to pull the trigger on surgery, the decision was easy. “I was a sophomore at the time, and when you’re an athlete, you want to know you can keep playing. That’s why we tried other options first.” The care provided by Dr. Mansfield, combined with the reassurance of a teammate who had also had surgery with Dr. Mansfield, left de Luca confident that she would be fine and back on the courts in no time.
Creating a plan for surgery and recovery
“Along with my trainer and Dr. Mansfield, we decided to do the surgery in the summer so I could recover before the next season,” says de Luca. “I remember it was a smooth, easy process. I woke up and didn’t have any pain after.”
Following surgery, de Luca worked with her trainer and Dr. Mansfield to make a plan for rehab so she could avoid any pain in the future. She was back on the courts within two months, easing her way back into her regular routine of practices and competition.
“It was my only surgery. I haven’t had any other injuries,” she says. Today, de Luca works at Texas Tech School of Medicine, and she continues to play tennis for fun.
If you’ve experienced a sports injury, contact us to schedule a consultation. Together, we can identify the best treatment options to get you back in the game.