With a patient list that includes Olympic and professional athletes, F. Kennedy Gordon, M.D., has very little room for mistakes in his diagnoses and treatments.
Helping his patients not only to heal quickly but also to manage their pain can be the difference for an athlete in breaking a world record or getting that championship ring.
From his Union, N.J.-based Gordon Elite Sports Medicine P.C., Dr. Gordon and his staff combine modern medicine and ancient practices like acupuncture to help athletes reach maximum perfor-mance and nonathletes to live a pain-free life.
They deal with a wide range of sports-related ailments, from herniated discs and rotator cuff injuries to concussions, lacerations and Achilles tendonitis.
“Many of the ailments that my patients suffer are related to the sport that they play,” says Gordon, who holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is an avid middle-distance runner. “For example, with boxing and football we tend to see concussions, eye injuries, lacerations, back and knee pain. But at the same time, we also deal with mono, bronchitis/exercise-induced asthma and the occasional diarrhea from traveling abroad often.”
Gordon’s appreciation of sports was influenced by his father, Charlie Biot, a centerfielder with the Newark Eagles, New York Black Yankees and Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues from 1939 to 1941.
Knowing that his father played such an integral role in the struggle of African-Americans to be accepted as professional athletes, he went into sports but chose to excel in a different way. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut and New Jersey Medical School in Newark, completed a sports medicine fellowship at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, Calif., and studied medical acupuncture at New York Medical College.
In addition to his practice, Gordon does private consulting. He would not disclose the names of the athletes he sees as a consultant, citing doctor-patient confidentiality, but acknowledges that some of them compete for other countries and many train in the U.S.
In 2000, he was a staff physician at the United States Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., where athletes were preparing for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
In 2002, he worked with the New York Giants on pain management and used acupuncture as part of the treatment.
“Being a physician for the Olympic team has been a dream of many for many years,” Gordon says. “It is another frontier where African-Americans can succeed. We just need the opportunity.”
At his practice, he also treats non-athletes with sports injuries and/or chronic pain and those who are recovering from car accidents and knee injuries. “We try to get patients who are suffering from arthritis to exercise again and to be able to live without the pain through acupuncture, cold laser treatment and infra-red light,” he says.
Over the years, Gordon has seen a surge in injuries among children who play sports all year around, which puts a great deal of stress on their bodies.
He encourages rest and proper nutrition in such cases. “On the other spectrum, you have a lot of children who are obese and it is important the get them active, to live healthier lives,” he adds. “It can be as simple as getting twenty to thirty minutes of exercise two to three times a week, on a stationary bike or an elliptical machine.”