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2011 12 People You Need to Know: Dr. Chris Miller

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Some folks head to baseball games at Hammons Field for relaxation and recreation. For Dr. Chris Miller, an orthopedic surgeon and medical director for the Springfield Cardinals, stepping into the stadium is just another day at the office.

Miller, who knew he wanted to be a doctor by the time he was 6, says his attraction to sports medicine grew first out of his own interest in athletics. His work with athletes began in earnest, however, during his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Colorado, during which he helped treat the injuries of the Colorado Buffaloes.

“You can tell when an athlete trusts you and appreciates what you’re doing for them, because they look for you every time you show up to the stadium,” says Miller, who grew up playing basketball and soccer. “They’re coming in to the training room talking about it.”

Miller quickly gained experience treating athletes on the professional circuit, training under sports medicine pioneer Frank Jobe and administering medical care to Los Angeles-area teams such as the Dodgers, Lakers and Sparks during a sports medicine fellowship at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. In addition to valuable firsthand knowledge, the experience also gave Miller a front-row seat to history-making sports moments, such as in 2000 when Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal won the first of three consecutive NBA championships. He also got to meet legendary sports figures, such as former Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda and sportscaster Vin Scully.

After finishing his fellowship, Miller brought his passion for sports medicine and orthopedic care to Springfield.

At Orthopaedic Specialists of Springfield, Miller’s sports medicine specialty is focused on knee and shoulder arthroscopy, according to www.ossdocs.com. He has been with the Springfield Cardinals since the AA team’s inaugural season in 2005.

Miller says that while he takes the same care with all patients, he recognizes an added worry that plagues professional athletes.

“At the amateur level, you just love playing so you just really want to get back out there and play,” he says. “At the Springfield Cardinals level … not only is it that they love playing, but that’s how they make a living.”

Miller said his experience with sports and athletic injuries helps him to relate to all of his patients, regardless of the degree to which they’re involved in athletic activities.

“I’ve been a patient myself, so I know what it’s like to be on the other side of things,” he says. “That’s the kind of approach I take to every patient I see, whether it’s someone in my office or up at the stadium. To be entrusted to take care of people is, professionally, the greatest honor anyone can ask of me.”

For more information on the 12 People You Need to Know series, click here.
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