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Dr. Chris Miller was the featured guest for the April 12 SBJ 12 People You Need to Know breakfast.
Dr. Chris Miller was the featured guest for the April 12 SBJ 12 People You Need to Know breakfast.

Cards' medical director works for the love of the game

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Behind the scenes of the Springfield Cardinals is Dr. Chris Miller, a man that makes sure the players are in prime shape. And he does it for free.

Miller, medical director for the Springfield Cardinals and partner and orthopedic surgeon at Orthopaedic Specialists of Springfield PC, was the featured guest at the April 12 Springfield Business Journal 12 People You Need to Know breakfast held at the newly opened Hilton Garden Inn, 4155 S. Nature Center Way.

Miller - who will start his seventh season with the Springfield Cards during the home season opener April 14 - works as an unpaid volunteer to aid the minor league team, but he said the most difficult balance to keep isn't with his two jobs.

"Most of the games take place at night, so really it's a battle of home rather than work. That's really the balance part," Miller said.

Ironically, Miller said it was his family who brought him to Springfield.

"Probably like it did for a lot of people, my wife is from here, and she won," he said, laughing. "But I've really grown to love it here."

That's high praise considering his background.

Miller had a stacked résumé prior to settling in Springfield. After four years attaining his medical degree at the University of California-San Francisco and five years of orthopedic residency, he worked with athletes at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, where he met and treated players such as Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Gary Sheffield.

Asked what it's like to work with Shaq, Miller said the big man is a down-to-earth, nice person, just like anybody else.

"He has a size 22 shoe, but he acts like a 5-year-old," Miller said. "He just jokes around."

Now, Miller splits his time between his day job, his night job and his family, but he said although his days are long, it is time well spent.

"It really is a dream job," Miller said of his work at Orthopaedic Specialists of Springfield, where he specializes primarily in knee and shoulder operations. He added that his work with the Springfield Cardinals is just as rewarding. "I really enjoy working with the Cards. It's a top-notch organization."

And considering he is unpaid for his services and has no written contract binding him to the team, Miller's love of the game shines through.

"It's too many hours away from home if you don't really like it," he said. "I'm planning on staying. ... They keep asking me to do it."[[In-content Ad]]

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