The men’s and women’s basketball teams from South Dakota State University are among the schools for which Sanford Health is the exclusive sports medicine provider.
Chad Kurtenbach, M.D., is one of the Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine doctors who’s also a team physician for the Jacks. He offers some insight into injuries the teams have overcome and what it’s like to be part of March Madness.
In your time with SDSU, and your close proximity to the team, what do you see in them that has gotten them to this level?
I’ve had the fortune of being a part of several successful teams at SDSU. At this level, success comes from the top down — from the administration and athletic director to the coaches and athletes. Some of the most important aspects that make these teams great are hard work, discipline, commitment to team goals, mental preparation and a dedication to health. Success is never an accident — it happens to those who are willing to put in the extra work when no one is watching.
To get this far in the season and entering round 1, how do you prepare high level athletes to stay injury-free at this point?
The sports medicine team plays a pivotal role on every successful sports team. Our first and most important priority is preventing injuries. Injury prevention is achieved through a multi-faceted approach including proper nutrition, time for recovery/rest, strength training, proper form/mechanics and mental readiness. We have a yearlong commitment to these principles and we are consistently implementing cutting-edge methods to keep the athletes in peak condition.
Are there particular injuries (without naming anyone) that Sanford Health sports med expertise has helped this team move forward?
We have several athletes that have successfully recovered from preseason and in-season injuries. Some of the injuries this year included foot fracture, elbow fracture, patella tendinitis, ankle sprain, knee ligament injury, patella instability and others. When injuries occur, we provide a quick/accurate diagnosis and then implement an individualized treatment plan for each athlete. As they recover, we help guide them through the return to performance process and ensure that they have the physical and mental readiness to play at a high level.
As many experts are talking about SDSU men and women and as they move to round 1, as team physician, what do you need to do to prepare for/care for not just one but two teams playing at a high level?
It’s definitely a busy and exciting time of the year! Dr. (Verle) Valentine and I are often splitting duties to ensure that practices and games are covered. We depend on the excellent athletic trainers at SDSU to provide us with day-to-day updates and implement the prevention/treatment plans. We also have a team of subspecialty trained orthopedic surgeons at Sanford Health that provide us additional support when necessary. It takes a comprehensive team to care for high level athletes!
You have a unique position within all of the hoops hoopla. Tell us or give us a view of being so close to this excitement and what it means for SDSU fans that will read this.
In short — it’s awesome! There is nothing better than walking on the court and hearing Jackrabbit nation. We have the best fans and our players thrive on that energy/excitement. There is no doubt that the fans play a huge role in the success of SDSU. It’s an honor to be part of the team and we look forward to a successful NCAA tournament. Go Jacks!
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