Lloy Ball: “It’s a matter of trust.”
Finding a doctor you can trust is important, but for a professional athlete like volleyball player and four-time Olympian Lloy Ball, it’s critical. Athletes depend on their bodies to perform at their peak so they can continue to play and provide for their families. Or, as Ball says, ‘If I don’t play, I don’t get paid.”
Ball did find someone he trusts’ “ orthopedic surgeon Dr. John C. Pritchard of Ortho Northeast’s SportONE. He met Dr. Pritchard in the summer of 2006 when Ball needed a micro fracture repaired in his knee. During the procedure, Dr. Pritchard saw the need for a second procedure, called a lateral release, as well. He explained it to Ball, stating he not only thought the procedure was necessary, but that it would help get more wear out of the knee before anything else might need to be done. Even though it took longer to heal, Ball knew it was the right call, “He was right. My knee’s tracking was bad. That’s why my knee was bothering me. And, having that done then is the reason why I’ve been able to play for so long since.”
Following the surgery, Ball went on to compete in the 2008 Olympic games, leading the American team a gold medal. For Ball, that was all it took. He knew he could trust Dr. Pritchard. So this past spring, when his knee started bothering him while playing in Russia, he called Dr. Pritchard. Ball explains, “I had the doctors there do an MRI and send it to Dr. Pritchard. I didn’t know if I should finish out the season. But he said it was okay for me to continue to play on it and that he would work on it after the season.” Once again, Dr. Pritchard was right. Ball returned home and had his knee surgically “cleaned out” by Dr. Prichard. With the doctor’s assurance that his knee would be fine, Ball confidently signed on for another season in Russia.
As a professional athlete, Ball has access to some of the best sports medicine professionals in the world. But, he trusts his future to Dr. Pritchard. “There’s not anyone who’s more talented or more capable,” Ball says of Pritchard. “I would recommend him to any athlete.” He goes on to say, “He gets what athletes are all about. He understands the rigors and stress we put on our bodies. He’s one of us. I trust him — one hundred percent.”
While Ball isn’t certain of how long he’ll continue to play, he is sure of one thing — he’ll be staying with Dr. Pritchard. “Down the road, I’m certain I’ll need more surgery. As long as Dr. Pritchard’s available, I’m going to him.” Ball is also planning on sticking with ONE. “No athlete ever wants to go see a doctor or have surgery. But, ONE makes it as pleasant as it can be.”