A memorable year in Ducks history, 1967 marked the beginning of an era in Autzen Stadium and the birth of what has since become one of the nation’s leading sports medicine programs — right here at the University of Oregon.
Long before injury timeouts and sideline evaluations, a young, yet talented orthopedic surgeon by the name of Donald B. Slocum, M.D., completed his elite medical training in the Midwest and embarked on a journey to the West Coast. It was a move that many in his field advised against, but as it came to be, was one that placed Eugene in the books of medical literature.
After establishing his clinic in Eugene, Dr. Slocum served six years in World War II and practiced medicine at the nationally renowned Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. It was during his service time at Walter Reed, that Dr. Slocum’s exposure to war injuries provided him with the expertise and experience to author An Atlas of Amputations. The text was so ahead of its time that it still serves as a definitive reference for orthopedists even today, and also signified to his peers at the time that he was one to watch.
Dr. Slocum returned to Eugene and slowly began to build his practice, hand picking skilled surgeons to join him in offering comprehensive orthopedic care. Although he primarily practiced general orthopedic medicine, Dr. Slocum’s focus, and that of his practice, soon changed after treating his son’s football-related knee injury.
While seeking resources to better understand the medical treatment of athletes, it became quite clear to Dr. Slocum that little was known about the lasting implications of sports-related injuries. This inspired Dr. Slocum to pursue this area of study in the hope of helping athletes return to their full form and function after an injury, his passion and dedication catching the eyes and ears of Oregon coaches.
Given the opportunity to provide orthopedic care for all University of Oregon and Oregon State athletes, Dr. Slocum took his expertise a step further. Now entrenched in the world of sports injuries and athletic performance, he along with three other orthopedists in the U.S. founded the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), which today is the international authority on orthopedic and sports medicine related research and education. More locally, Dr. Slocum collaborated with the legendary University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman. And together they finalized the trademark upright running posture of Oregon runners, a technique that led former Oregon runner Otis Davis to an Olympic Gold Medal in 1960.
His name now synonymous with the term “sports medicine,” Dr. Slocum remained committed to the field of medicine and made history once more with his studies of knee joint ligaments and their role in joint stability during movement. Findings that further demonstrated orthopedic leadership from Eugene and prompted peers like Drs. Robert Larson and Stanley James to pursue a chance to work alongside him. Immediately impressed with their skill and expertise, Dr. Slocum included them both in his work with Oregon Athletics and sports-related injuries, creating the start of an elite team of sports medicine experts. A short time later, the specialists of Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, then referred to as Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic of Eugene, formally became The Orthopedic Team Physicians for University of Oregon Athletics in 1967.
Four decades later and still proudly serving Oregon Athletics, Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine has maintained its team approach to athletic care both on and off the field. From the athletes, coaches and athletic trainers to current sideline care of Drs. Kenneth Singer, Donald Jones and Rudolf Hoellrich and the support of their orthopedic partners and staff, the collaboration in care between teams requires a level of commitment beyond most expectations, clearly differentiating Oregon Athletics from others in the Pac-12 and the nation at large.
“For us, there has been no greater reward than contributing to such an extraordinary athletic program alongside this talented group of athletes and professionals,” said current Oregon Athletics and Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine physician Dr. Donald Jones.
By continuously displaying leadership, commitment and innovation, Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine has remained one of the nation’s leading authority in sports medicine care. Established by one of the founding fathers of sports medicine and having grown to be a 22-physician group with three American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) Hall of Fame inductees, Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine is proud to live up to the honor of being the Orthopedic Team Physicians for the University of Oregon Ducks.