The right medicine for any athlete
January 25, 2016
A UNR alumnus has returned to his hometown and offers medical care for athletes of all ages and skill levels.
Mark Stovak, MD, practices at the University of Nevada School of Medicine Sports Medicine Clinic, located near the southeast corner of Mackay Stadium. Dr. Stovak can treat any patient who wants to stay active and healthy and is either injured or needs to know what he or she can do based on his or her health status. "It does not have to be a high school or college athlete," said Dr. Stovak. "It could be a weekend warrior or anyone who wants to stay on the field or stay in their sport or doing their workouts or whatever keeps them active."
Dr. Stovak has ample experience in the field of sports medicine. Among the highlights of his career are his time as the USA track and field team physician at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and as team physician for several sports at the 2008 Paralympics, which is the disabled Olympics and follows the Olympic Games, in Beijing, China.
He also was the head team physician at Wichita State University, in Kansas, for 15 years. "We went to the Final Four and the Elite Eight and the Sweet Sixteen. That was a lot of fun," said Dr. Stovak.
“For the patient who really wants to be competitive or stay active, we have additional training that really facilitates that.”Dr. Mark Stovak, UNR School of Medicine Sports Medicine Clinic
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Besides these higher profile achievements, though, Dr. Stovak enjoys helping each athlete with his or her injury and seeing the athlete "make it back from the injury and get back on the court or the field with success. A coach at Wichita State compares what we do with NASCAR, where you get points for staying on the track," said Dr. Stovak. "So we do anything that we can do to keep people on the track."
Dr. Stovak is one of two team physicians and is an assistant for the sports medicine fellowship program. In Wichita he started the fellowship program and was the director for 11 years.
His practice at UNR is in the building with the athletic training facility, the physical therapy clinic, the weight room and some of the coaches' offices. "The clinic is right next to the athletic department. The athletes are getting physical therapy and working out in the athletic training facility, right there next to the waiting room. If the patients are in physical therapy, they are almost working right alongside the athletes. It is a unique atmosphere," said Dr. Stovak.
The practice consists of nonoperative musculoskeletal medicine and all of the medical problems of athletes. About 95 percent of the athletes that they see at the clinic do not need surgery. Dr. Stovak is able to take care of them efficiently, sometimes up until the point that they need surgery.
The clinic also performs sports ultrasound, which is a new area in the field of sports medicine. This is useful for diagnosing and treating numerous musculoskeletal and other problems.
"What we do in the field of sports medicine is unique. We have additional training and a certificate of added qualifications for sports medicine from the American Board of Family Medicine," said Dr. Stovak. "This adds a unique perspective to the care, not only for the regular patient who is getting a physical. We make sure that we discuss an exercise prescription and what they are doing about their health every day. For the patient who really wants to be competitive or stay active, we have additional training that really facilitates that."
Many patients want to learn "the maximal amount of things that I can do so that I can stay doing what I want to do even if it is not 100 percent without making myself worse," Dr. Stovak explains. "That is where a lot of our expertise comes in."
Dr. Stovak finds that patients need sports medicine treatment the year round. In the summer, for example, many people need sports physicals or are running marathons. Even though the high school and the college seasons are somewhat defined, there are club sports that are year round and people who are more active in one season or the other. "It is really amazing," said Dr. Stovak. "It really does not ever slow down in sports medicine."
Returning to northern Nevada and to the University of Nevada, Reno, was an easy choice for Dr. Stovak because "it is home." He attended high school here and completed his undergraduate and medical school studies at UNR. His wife is from Reno and went to medical school here. She also practices medicine at UNR. "Our families have migrated back here, so it was just a great fit," Dr. Stovak adds.
The prospect of a growing economy and community augurs well for the growth of Dr. Stovak's practice. "The better the economy is, the more active that people are able to be. The more active that they want to be, the better it is for sports medicine," said Dr. Stovak. He sees northern Nevada as a great outdoors community with many great events, such as the rodeos and the recent weight lifting competition.
Whether you are a dedicated athlete or someone just trying to stay in shape, Dr. Mark Stovak and the University of Nevada School of Medicine Sports Medicine Clinic certainly have the experience and training to provide the sports medicine care that you need.