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PhysicianSpotlight

Doctor Stays Connected to Sports World

A Former Athlete, Dr. Laura Lendermon Now Treats Athletes By LAWRENCE BUSER

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As a former all-sports high school athlete, a college basketball and tennis player, and now a veteran of 17 marathons, including Boston and New York, Dr. Laura Lendermon understands when patients come to see her with what others might see as minor aches and pains. It’s a quality of life issue. “I get how it feels to be hurt and I get how it feels to be healthy, so that’s why I want to try to help people be on the healthy end of things,” says Dr. Lendermon, head of Lendermon Sports Medicine in Collierville. “If somebody comes in kind of whiny and says ‘I can only run 10 miles and then I start to hurt,’ most people might say, ‘Seriously, dude? Get a life.’ But when I hear that, I’m like ‘I get it ma’am.’ Keeping people in their sport is real important to me. “If I don’t work out, I’m not who I need to be. My husband doesn’t think I’m who I need to be, either. He’ll say, ‘You really need to go run.’ We have so many stressors in our lives, so if you can get out and exercise and do something that puts you in your good and happy and healthy place, that makes me happy to be able to help you do that.” Dr. Lendermon didn’t take a direct route from college to medical school. In high school at Harding Academy in Memphis, her goal was to be a doctor or a coach. After finishing at University of Tennessee at Martin, she chose inbetween and became a physical therapist, a combination of the medical and athletic worlds. After 10 years, she was running a large group of out-patient clinics that involved lots of travel as well as business and financial details. “I realized that I had gotten my hands away from the patients and decided this is crazy,” Dr. Lendermon recalled. “I either need to go really far in business and become an MBA, or become an attorney, or get a little bit farther down the food chain in the healthcare industry, so I decided to go to medical school.” At the University of Tennessee School Of Medicine in Memphis, she met classmate and future husband, Dr. Nav Rangi, now a Memphis anesthesiologist. They have a 17-year-old son heading for UT-Knoxville this fall. Still wanting to stay connected to the sports world, she then did a two-year primary care sports medicine fellowship after her residency with the famed Dr. James

Laura Lendermon

Andrews in Birmingham. (Dr. Andrews, a specialist in repairing damaged ligaments, has become one of the nation’s most well known and popular orthopedic surgeons, having helped a number of high-profile athletes.) In Birmingham she not only rubbed elbows with the stars, but also worked on some as well. “When I was there, Dr. Andrews would see people like Michael Jordan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, John Smoltz, Drew Brees – it was really neat,” she recalls. “I learned a lot about how to manage people and how to manage athletes from the highest pros to the gardenvariety Little Leaguer. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 7)

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