Grand River Chronicle

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Grand River Health is Keeping the Active Population Healthy, Now, Through Sports Medicine

Student Athlete

In the sprawling realm of healthcare, sports medicine carves out its own space — distinct, unique, and comprehensive. Often, it’s misunderstood as just being about injuries on the field, but in reality, it encompasses so much more.

Dr. N. Lindsay Harris, Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Physician, provides a succinct view: “In a nutshell, Sports medicine is about keeping people healthy and active throughout their life. It involves all age groups, and it’s not just about surgeries or injuries; it’s general sports health.” At the heart of sports medicine lies an understanding of the entire human physiology, from nutrition to sports psychology. It’s not just about treating an injury but understanding the cause, effect, and rehabilitation process.


Where does sports medicine stand versus other medical specialties? Dr. Daniel Goldberg Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Physician says, “Sports medicine revolves around the care of athletes in multiple disciplines.” He believes that while sports medicine shares similarities with orthopedics — both delve deep into the musculoskeletal system — its approach differs. The distinction between sports medicine and orthopedics or general medicine, Dr. Goldberg states “From the standpoint of orthopedics, we’re focused more on the musculoskeletal system. We’re treating trauma, arthritis, but a lot of that is also part of sports medicine.” While the treatment for musculoskeletal injuries might be similar, the expectations, resources, and recovery strategies often require a different approach for high-level athletes.


Dr. Lindsay Cala describes the specialized training that sports medicine professionals undergo, stating, “We did put in an extra year of training, and that training is pretty specialized. We’re working with collegiate and professional athletes.” This additional training equips them with the expertise needed to cater to athletes’ unique demands. Physical Therapist, Cody De La Mater, DPT, underscores the importance of a comprehensive approach to patient care in sports medicine. “It is all connected. Sports Medicine and return to sport type of things are different than orthopedics because these people are trying to return to a high level of function and performance,” he says.


Age plays a crucial role. In pediatric cases, practitioners deal with a growing skeleton, necessitating alternative surgical procedures because growth plates are still open. In contrast, elderly patients frequently present with wear and tear, including arthritis and rotator cuff issues.

Dr. Cala extends this narration, illustrating that sports medicine isn’t confined to team physicians or elite athletes: “It could be someone who plays pickleball or mountain bikes. It’s about treating everyone trying to stay active.” Her perspective appreciates the diverse clientele a sports medicine professional might handle.


De La Mater draws a distinction between sports medicine and orthopedics based on the patients’ personal rehab goals. He emphasizes the difference in the rehabilitation process for a competitive athlete and an average individual. Dr. Goldberg echoes this sentiment, viewing sports medicine as rehabilitation after an injury, while Cody champions the value of physical therapy, advocating for its inclusion in post-injury care.


Dr. Cala emphasizes the collaboration within the sports medicine community, from athletic trainers to orthopedists. The harmonized approach ensures an athlete receives the best care possible. Cody De La Mater’s personal journey highlights the importance of this team approach. With his background as a student athlete, he emphasizes the value of skilled care over individual instinct.

Sports medicine is a multifaceted field where specialists not only attend to injuries but also guide athletes through recovery, offering holistic care. Grand River Health’s Sports Medicine Team is here for you, whether you’re a professional athlete, a school sports player, or just someone trying to stay fit, Grand River Health is ready to support your health journey. To make an appointment, call 970.625.1100


Dr. Lindsay Harris is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery with a sub-specialty certification in Sports Medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and The American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine. Dr. Harris comes to Grand River Health from Aspen Orthopedic Associates and specializes in Sports Medicine. Dr. Harris has served as the team physician for the US Ski Team and the Medical Director for the Aspen World Cup Ski Race Team.


Dr. Cala comes to Grand River Health Clinic West from University of Arizona Medical Center where she did her Family Medicine residency and completed her sports medicine Fellowship. Dr. Cala worked in Urgent Care and Sports Medicine at Banner Health in Arizona.

Dr. Goldberg received his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and cellular biology from University of California San Diego. He then went on to receive his medical doctorate, from Albany Medical College in New York, where he graduated cum laude.  He went on to complete his orthopaedic residency at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and then returned to California to complete his sports medicine and shoulder fellowship at the University of California San Francisco.