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Published on January 06, 2020

Southeastern Orthopedics physicians specialize in sports medicine

By Roxana Ross

Sports medicine physicians see a wide range of patients who are current or former athletes, ranging from youth sports players to weekend warriors. Southeastern Orthopedics has two physicians who specialize in sports medicine, Dr. John Arnold and Dr. Eric Breitbart.Dr. John Arnold and Dr. Eric Breitbart

“I like to think of sports medicine as a continuum from youth all the way into senior citizens, because a lot of times we have problems that arise in youth that extend into our adulthood and continue to plague us,” Dr. Arnold said. “Some of the earlier injuries that we have can lead to premature arthritis and other things that may make us more likely to have a knee replacement or other type of procedure later on down the line.”

Specializing in sports medicine requires additional fellowship training and additional certification from a national board, as well as regular recertification. Dr. Arnold completed a Hughston Clinic Orthopaedic sports medicine fellowship and Dr. Breitbart’s fellowship was at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Orthopedic surgeons, like Dr. Arnold and Dr. Breitbart, also train in the operative treatment of musculoskeletal problems such as acute and overuse injuries.

Dr. Breitbart’s fellowship also included training in pediatric sports medicine through the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Children are not just small adults in terms of orthopedics,” he said. “Pediatric injuries are treated differently and, in sports medicine, it is the same thing. Kids have different injury patterns. Treatment options and surgical procedures require modified techniques depending on the kid’s size.”

While Dr. Arnold joined Southeastern Orthopedics this year, Dr. Breitbart has been with UNC Health Southeastern since 2015. Since that time, he’s seen a set of student athletes go through their entire high school athletic careers though UNC Health Southeastern’s athletic training partnership with the Public Schools of Robeson County. Dr. Breitbart oversees the program, which provides athletic trainers to all the county high schools.

“I think being here in Robeson County has been a great experience,” Dr. Breitbart said. “If Southeastern Orthopedics and the athletic trainers were not here, there would have been a lot more missed injuries with the student athletes.”

Both doctors agree that one of the more enjoyable parts of working with athletes is their patients’ willingness to put in the work they need to recover. Surgeries, when needed, are often done with minimal incisions or scarring. Even so, the doctors recognize Robeson County residents often have other issues, such as lack of transportation and insurance, which can be a barrier to some patients’ ability to keep formal rehabilitation appointments.

“Twenty percent of success in recovery from injuries is the physician,” Dr. Arnold said. “Eighty percent is the patient doing the proper rehabilitation for the proper amount of time. So we really put an emphasis on going to therapy and sticking with it.”

For students, the presence of the athletic trainers in the schools can help get around these obstacles.

“Our patients are very hard working, they’re diligent and motivated patients,” Dr. Breitbart said. “Athletic trainers can take over some of the lack, so having them in the schools is a godsend to get them to diagnose issues, get the students to us in a timely manner, and make sure the kids get the appropriate treatment afterward.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment at Southeastern Orthopedics, call (910) 738-1065.