Dr. John Polousky can relate to young athletes facing surgical procedures. As a high school and collegiate football player, he, too, suffered from several injuries that required surgery and sidelined him for weeks at a time.
It is these experiences that enable him to offer his patients a unique level of support, advocacy and understanding from someone who’s run a mile in their shoes, whether he’s fixing a bone fracture or operating on the most complex ACL injury.
As Akron Children’s newest Orthopedic Sports Medicine Division Director, Dr. Polousky will partner with our sports medicine team to lead the care of patients who require surgical intervention. He hopes to build upon the organization’s excellent clinical care by expanding sports medicine services and providing a “professional” athlete experience to improve outcomes for our region’s young athletes.
The former center for Colorado State University feels he’s tackled many of the same challenges his current patients are facing and understands firsthand the pressure on them to perform and be recruited. That’s why for Dr. Polousky, the best — and easiest — part about being a provider is getting his patients back in the game, whether that’s an intense game of backyard baseball or a highly anticipated collegiate football game.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
I was a resident at the Cleveland Clinic in the early 2000s and rotated here for pediatric orthopedics. I have known the group for many years, and I completed my residency with Dr. Todd Ritzman. Last year, Dr. Ritzman called me and said the group was looking to expand its sports medicine services. It has been an honor to join a group of colleagues and friends whom I have had such respect for over many years.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish?
I am the Division Director of Orthopedic Sports Medicine. I hope to expand our sports medicine offerings and provide a high-quality, “professional” athlete experience to our region’s young athletes.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
I am an orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in both pediatric orthopedics and orthopedic sports medicine. I hold a Certificate of Added Qualification for Sports Medicine by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. After completing my training, I had an opportunity to do additional work in sports medicine. At that time, there were only a handful of surgeons in the country specializing specifically in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine. It was an opportunity to actively develop specialized surgical techniques in children for sports injuries.
When did you decide to become a provider and why?
I decided I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon in high school due to my involvement in sports and exposure through a school sports medicine/athletic training class.
What do you like most about being a provider?
I enjoy working with adolescents and their families to get them back to activity. I was a high school and collegiate athlete. In many situations, I feel like I have faced similar challenges. Those experiences help me understand their perspective.
What’s the most memorable thing that’s ever happened to you as a provider?
Last year, I was invited to Singapore to lecture on pediatric sports injuries. At the same conference, there were talks on many different orthopedic topics from doctors in other countries. It’s always humbling to see the incredible orthopedic problems that people in other countries treat with very limited resources. You realize how fortunate we are to live in the United States.
What is the easiest part of your job?
The easiest part is clearing patients to go back to activities.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Walnut Creek, California.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
My family includes my wife, Engel, my son, Erik, and our dogs: Charley and Copper.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I spend time with my family, watching my son play football or biking with my wife.
What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
We love to visit Telluride, Colorado, because of the great biking and skiing.
What was your first paying job?
I was a paperboy for the San Francisco Examiner.