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Alexandra Cancio-Bello, member of NFL Variety in Sports activities Medication Pipeline Initiative’s inaugural class

How did you change into a part of the NFL Variety in Sports activities Medication Pipeline Initiative?

I obtained an e mail from Howard College that mentioned they have been partnering with the NFL for a once-in-a-lifetime orthopedic rotation. How else to greatest study orthopedics than soccer? So I utilized they usually instructed me I had been accepted to this system. I used to be so excited to study that I used to be going to be with the New York Giants as a result of they’re affiliated with the Hospital for Particular Surgical procedure, which is the No. 1 orthopedic surgical procedure hospital within the nation. I additionally realized that I’d be working with Dr. Scott Rodeo and Dr. Samuel Taylor, who’re titans within the discipline. It is a huge deal to have the ability to work with them.

The truth that the Giants are having an unimaginable season this yr is a bonus. I have never all the time adopted soccer, so I undoubtedly had to do a little analysis earlier than beginning my rotation. I’d say my time with the Giants was my first actual soccer expertise, which is the very best one you would get.

What have been among the belongings you did and/or realized in the course of the month-long rotation?

Giants assistant athletic coach Mike Baum arrange an unimaginable rotation schedule. Some days have been break up between Quest Diagnostics Coaching Heart and Hospital for Particular Surgical procedure. It was totally different on daily basis, and I used to be uncovered to so many issues. My favourite day of the week was Monday. I might get to the coaching heart at about 7 am for damage clinic. I used to be there with Dr. Rodeo, Dr. Taylor, head athletic coach Ronnie Barnes, the trainers and the gamers. That is after I realized probably the most. Then within the afternoon, I went to the hospital to watch a surgical procedure.

I used to be on the coaching heart Tuesdays and Thursdays for follow. Individuals usually see accidents happen in a sport, however it was throughout follow when you would see why these accidents occurred. Watching the gamers do drills and follow made me notice sure issues like why the defensive position has so many elbow accidents, and it might be as a result of they do a variety of the identical motions when attempting to dam.

I additionally went to 3 video games, together with the Giants vs. Jacksonville sport. Touring with the workforce was an amazing expertise.

That’s nice to listen to. What have been a few of your greatest takeaways from the rotation?

It actually takes a workforce to supply these athletes with the very best care to maintain them wholesome and on the sphere. There may be a lot at stake, and the gamers have a lot stress on them. In a traditional sports activities drugs rotation, you would possibly inform a affected person to loosen up for a couple of weeks and slowly get again to regular. That is not the case with the gamers. They got here again on daily basis and did remedy, which is not all the time enjoyable, however they’ve a lot willpower. Everybody from physicians to trainers play such a giant position in the entire course of. Often, physicians refer sufferers to bodily remedy, however it was actually cool to see the entire steps of restoration play out and the way essential every step is. The rehab side was a giant takeaway as effectively, as a result of I had by no means been uncovered to it.

Whenever you look again, was there something that shocked you?

I used to be shocked at how welcoming everybody was. It was actually refreshing. Orthopedic surgical procedure is a really male-dominated discipline, and so is the NFL, with the entire gamers being males. However they needed me to be there and requested questions on college and residency. They made me really feel very snug. It was simple to create relationships with the physicians, trainers, gamers and even head coach Brian Daboll, who was tremendous good and made me really feel welcome.

What was your favourite second?

It needs to be the video games. The depth is one thing that I had by no means skilled, and it is arduous to explain. Being there on the sideline with the workforce, you may really feel their full focus, and the trainers and workers are additionally targeted. There may be one purpose, and that is to win — and preserve everybody wholesome. However I’d say my favourite second was on the Giants-Texans sport. The gamers have been giving me fist bumps as they got here off the sphere. It was an amazing feeling being a part of the workforce.

Do you will have any mentors? If that’s the case, what have you ever realized from them?

Mentorship is so essential. Once I first began medical college, I assumed crucial factor was how effectively I carried out in lessons and my board scores — mainly, how arduous you’re employed. However I’ve realized that in aggressive fields like orthopedics, the place there is perhaps 1,000 individuals making use of for seven residency spots, it is about who , connections and mentorship. Nobody in my household is a doctor, so it may be difficult to search out mentors. I labored arduous to search out them.

When the pandemic hit, I reached out to Dr. Robin West, who was a workforce doctor for the Washington Commanders on the time. She was the primary feminine orthopedic surgeon that I noticed within the DMV space, so I emailed her. She met with me on Zoom, talked to me in regards to the discipline, gave me some good recommendation and wrote a suggestion for me for a analysis place at Mayo Clinic. She was very useful.

Then, I took a analysis yr at Mayo Clinic to not solely get expertise however to additionally create mentorship. There I had labored with Dr. Brandon Yuan, Dr. Jonathan Barlow and Dr. Krystin Hidden. They have been unimaginable, and I realized how essential empowering a mentee is. That wasn’t one thing I had skilled till going there, and it most likely helped get this chance with the Giants. Then assembly Dr. Rodeo and Dr. Taylor has been wonderful. Interview invitations for residency got here out earlier this week, and Dr. Rodeo referred to as me to ask if he might attain out to the interviewers. He needed to inform them just a little extra about me earlier than I meet with them. That is an enormous deal, and I am very fortunate to have these mentors. I look ahead to with the ability to do the identical for others.

Once more, there aren’t many ladies in orthopedic surgical procedure. I have been instructed by many individuals who do not know me or have not labored with me — they solely see me — that I ought to contemplate one thing else. Listening to that time and again, despite the fact that they have not seen me in a medical setting, it may get to you. I do not essentially want individuals to validate what I am able to, however assembly people who find themselves revered within the discipline and offer you assist and the arrogance that you just do belong is an effective feeling. Having them advocate for me means lots.

Earlier than this rotation, did you contemplate working in skilled sports activities a profession possibility for orthopedics?

I all the time knew it was an possibility, and I knew how aggressive working in skilled sports activities is, as a result of it is the head of sports activities drugs. Everybody desires this, so I used to be not sure if it was a sensible purpose for me. This program has made me really feel that it might be an possibility for me, whereas it was extra of an concept earlier than. This rotation has actually meant lots to me and everybody else who’s been a part of it.

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