Mary Gendy, M.D., ’04, specialized in emergency medicine after her time at the Wright State University School of Medicine. It wasn’t long, however, that a passion for competition soon drew her into sports medicine. Since 2010, she has served as a team doctor for the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball team.
“I was an athlete when I was younger. I continued to play intramural sports through medical school and residency. As a resident, I liked the idea of working with athletes and helping them heal from their injuries,” Gendy said. “I did a sports medicine rotation in my residency and really enjoyed the clinic aspect, watching patients heal quickly, and getting them back to their sport. It was a nice balance to the fast-paced work in the emergency department.”
After completing a residency in emergency medicine at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Gendy went on to complete a sports medicine fellowship at Drexel University-Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her group was one of the first to use platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy. It was also responsible for providing medical care for the Pittsburgh Pirates professional baseball team.
One of the attendings she worked with was moving to California and asked if she would be interested in working with the Los Angeles Dodgers. She agreed, since she had enjoyed working with a Major League Baseball team during her fellowship.
“I am originally from Los Angeles, so I came back home,” Gendy said. “I’ve enjoyed it so much that this will be my seventh year with the team.”
As a sports medicine physician, Gendy specializes in the non-surgical treatment of exercise-related injuries. Her goal is to help patients get pain relief and increased activity. She has trained extensively with ultrasound and uses ultrasound guidance during her evaluations and procedures.
She utilizes traditional and alternative methods to help patients achieve their goals. About 85 percent have musculoskeletal injuries from sports-related or overuse injuries. These include meniscus tears, rotator cuff tendinopathy, or Achilles tendon tears.
“The rest of my patients suffer from osteoarthritis of various joints, including knees, ankles, or hips,” Gendy said.
Gendy didn’t completely give up emergency medicine, and still makes time for a few shifts in the emergency department each week. She works in a private sports medicine clinic about one day per week, where she focuses on regenerative medicine and stem cell treatments. She covers two to four baseball games for the Dodgers organization each month. She spends the rest of her time with family.
“One of the challenges I face is being a mother, although I think this applies to any physician who is a mother. In the past, I have traveled to spring training to perform pre-participation physicals,” Gendy said. “Now that I have four children, I am unable to travel and have had to cut my game coverage down. However, my colleagues have been very understanding and accommodating.”
For medical students interested in sports medicine work, Gendy recommends giving the specialty a try as soon as possible.
“Spend some time with trainers of sports teams at the local college,” Gendy said. “Find a sports medicine physician to shadow in clinic and on the field.”
— Daniel Kelly