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OAL celebrates 50 years of helping and healing local athletes | Sunday Sitdown

President of Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster discusses changing trends and technology over half a century

LANCASTER, Pa. — This week's Sunday Sitdown is an interview about a celebration   We always appreciate the support for the Sunday Sports Frenzy from Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster and this past week they had a birthday.  OAL is now 50 years old and still going strong.  OAL's President Dr. Michael Gish sits down with us to discuss the changing trends and advanced technology in the world of orthopedics.  

"Yeah I think it's great. We're the oldest group in Lancaster County or oldest orthopedic group and it's just been a real pleasure to take care of the people of Lancaster County for this many years," said Dr. Gish. "We started off with two doctors back in 1972 Dr. Shertzer and Dr. Cooke and in 50 years we've really grown quite a bit.  We now have 22 physicians, 17 physician assistants and almost 400 employees and so you know we're really indebted to everybody who's kind of helped us grow throughout those years.

Question from Todd Sadowski: "What have been some of the trends and some of the changes or maybe a moment that stuck out to you when you said wow things have really advanced in orthopedics and in the medicine and the way we're able to treat people?"

Dr. Gish: "In surgery for example, 50 years ago, even 30 years ago, most everything was done through open incisions, big incisions. Now almost everything and what I do, specifically in sports medicine, is done with the assistance of a camera or arthroscope which allows us to just use minuscule incisions, multiple small incisions that you know heal quicker, less painful. That has just revolutionized the way we do things pretty much. Everything we do in sports medicine is either done with the camera or assisted by it and along with that there's been advances in implants and ways to do the surgery that can be done through little incisions. It's just amazing sometimes, some of the people that figure out how to do things, just some geniuses that help us out and advance things."

Question from Todd Sadowski: "What are some of the things that you think the practice has been dealing with over the 50 years that is unique to now or some of the trends that you've seen in the types of people and the types of athletes that you see?"

Dr. Gish: "I think just the volume of people playing sports has increased and with that just the propensity or the possibility for injury. So, we're seeing people start sports out a much younger age. We talked about overuse before, that is happening quite a bit. We're seeing kind of the advent of sports specialization where there's this one player playing one sport all year round rather than multiple sports so we're seeing some unique injuries with that. I think just the level of play has gotten so much better just in the last 20 years. The speed of the game, the strength of the athletes and with that comes more risk of injury because there forces are higher, speed is faster, so what we're seeing is more and more severe injuries than you had seen in the past.

Question from Todd Sadowski: "I want to continue that train of thought because you talk about the volume of the people that you see but it's also the volume of people that you get back into the game. There may be somebody that hurt their hips years ago that could never compete in sports again but now there's a way to get back out there. If its senior softball or whatever the sport may be, you're able to get people back out there and exercising or contributing in a sport. Talk about that part of it and how meaningful that may be for you as physicians to be able to get people back into what they want to do."

Dr. Gish: "It's really exciting you know 20 to 30 years ago certain injuries were career ending because we didn't have the technology or the ability to treat those injuries or we didn't have the understanding of how to treat those and now with the research, product development and advances in surgery we can take something that previously would have kept somebody out and get them back to play at the same level or relatively close where we couldn't do that before. That's that's been really exciting just to see that evolution to it."

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