Bringing Tommy John to Kansas City
Kevin Witte, DO, knows a lot about Tommy John. Not the Tommy John who was one of Major League Baseball’s top-ranked pitchers and who led the Yankees to win the 1981 World Series. Rather, Dr. Witte is an expert in the revolutionary surgical procedure on the ulnar collateral ligament that was named after this star pitcher.
A Kansas City Local
Dr. Witte, a Kansas City native and graduate of the University of Missouri and the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences learned this procedure last year during his fellowship in orthopedic surgery at the Andrews Research and Education Institute in Gulf Breeze, Florida. He trained directly with Dr. James Andrews, an internationally renowned orthopedic surgeon and specialist in sports-related injuries of the knees, elbows, and shoulders.
“Working with Dr. Andrews was a great experience. I worked on a lot of knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries,” said Dr. Witte.
Training With The Kansas City Chiefs
Dr. Andrews has worked with many high-profile athletes, including Michael Jordan, Albert Pujols, Robert Griffin III, and Jake Long. Last year, Dr. Witte had the opportunity to assist with many players – both high and low profile – from his own hometown.
“It happened to be that there were three starters from the Kansas City Chiefs who got hurt at the beginning of the football season. They all needed ACL replacements, so I got to help work on them,” said Dr. Witte.
He also performed approximately 60 Tommy John procedures, including several on local high school athletes.
“There were three or four high school students from Kansas City who came down to Florida to have the procedure done. Not that many people in Kansas City perform that procedure. A lot of patients get referred to Dr. Andrews in Florida, so I was happy to be able to help them out,” he said.
In addition to the nuts and bolts of ACL, Tommy John, various shoulder surgeries, and revisions of those procedures, Dr. Witte also learned how to manage high-profile patients.
“What’s different about treating an athlete is that you don’t just deal with the patient; you deal with an entire business. You not only talk to the player – the patient himself – but to his agent, his team. And it’s not just about getting healthy; it’s about protecting this person’s career.”
Agents can be especially involved in a player’s care during a contract year.
“If it’s a contract year for a player, everyone wants to know when they can get back in and play. Fortunately, that makes for a very motivated population.”
All Patients Are Stars
But most importantly, Dr. Witte learned to treat every patient – famous or not – like a pro-athlete.
“We had high school kids that got the same treatment as a pro-athlete and I strive for that with all the patients I treat.”
Dr. Witte, who is the most recent addition to Orthopedic Surgeons, Inc. (OSI), also has privileges at North Kansas City Hospital. He works along with primary care physicians to offer top quality orthopedic care and consultations. He also is available to give seminars on injury prevention for athletes.
“I make it a priority to be accessible to patients and primary care physicians. On Mondays, I leave my late afternoon appointment slots open for fresh injuries from the weekend. If you’re a physician and you need a consult on a patient, just give me a call.”
He is excited about being able to bring the experience he got working with Dr. Andrews in Florida to the North Kansas City community.
To learn more, call 816-220-8727