Each month, find out what motivates ORA Orthopedics’ physicians to practice and treat patients in the Quad Cities in our What Moves Me feature.
In honor of the John Deere Classic, July 7-13, meet the Classic’s tournament physician, Dr. J.C. Clark, ORA Orthopedics. While not treating players during the Classic, at the office Dr. Clark specializes in arthroscopic and minimally invasive reconstructive surgery of the shoulder, elbow, and knee. He also has a special interest in sports medicine and the treatment of conditions and injuries of athletes. Dr. Clark is an avid golfer who dreams of visiting the Old Country someday where golfing began.
Meet ORA Orthopedics Surgeon Dr. J.C. Clark
Years in Practice: 4
Hometown: Monmouth, IL
What is your role at the John Deere Classic and what do you enjoy most about it?
I help provide medical coverage at the tournament, which means I am on site, taking care of the players, their families, and caddies. I also enjoy golf, and it’s just great to see how awesomely consistent PGA tour players can be.
What is it about golf that you enjoy most?
Golf is the opposite of every other sport I played growing up or in high school. First of all, there is no team, it’s all you, so whatever happens, good or bad, it’s all because of you. No one to blame but yourself. Second, it teaches you how to control your emotions. For example, in basketball, if I was a little angry or frustrated, I may just exert myself a little more and play lock-down defense to burn off the emotion. In golf, you can’t do that, so you have to learn how to internalize it and dissipate it. Thirdly, it is a meditation exercise for me. I can go to a golf range and start hitting golf balls, get lost in focusing on a little white ball and how to hit it, only to look up and see 2 hours have flown by. My mind is uncluttered and clear in those moments.
What course have you always dreamed of playing and why?
St. Andrews (Old Course) in Scotland because it is where it all started.
What is your most favorite course ever played and why?
The course I grew up on in Monmouth, Gibson Woods, is where it all started for me, so that’s got to be it.
What pro golfer would you like to meet (past or present legend) and why?
Old Tom Morris, Bobby Jones, and Arnold Palmer. Old Tom Morris because he was one of the first well-know golfers in Scotland; Bobby Jones because he was the greatest amateur who ever played the game; and Arnold Palmer because, I mean, come on, he’s an American icon.
Do you hope your kids will play, and if so, why?
Yes, because it is a game you can play your entire life, it teaches you about yourself, and most importantly, if they want to spend any time with me they had better learn how to play.
How do you spend your weekends? On the golf course?
Preferably with my wife and boys playing sports of any kind. Yes, since it’s golf season, we head out to the golf course pretty often where it is quiet and peaceful, and we are surrounded by nature.
What made you decide to become an orthopedic surgeon?
Too small for the NBA, too slow for an NFL cornerback, too poor eyesight for the MLB, too inconsistent for the PGA tour. What else is there? I love sports and anatomy/biology, so I combined them to make “sports medicine.” Actually, I would love to be a college professor some day.
What do you like best about practicing medicine?
When everything goes right…from the correct diagnosis, the correct decision to perform surgery, the correct performance of that procedure, and the uneventful recovery of a motivated patient to achieve full function. When that happens, it is magical, awesome, and worthwhile.
What inspires you most about your patients?
When a determined patient comes in who has a major issue and needs your help and is willing to go the extra mile to get back to normal. Those highly motivated patients with a goal-oriented mind-set are what inspire me to do better also.
If there was one piece of advice you wish your patients would take to heart, what would it be?
The hyaline cartilage you were given as a fetus that coats the end of your bones to make a smooth functioning joint is all you have for the rest of your life. Protect it dearly!