Q&A with Dr. Gordon Nuber, Sports Medicine at the Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Care

Northwestern Medicine
Orthopaedics February 08, 2017

Gordon Nuber, MD, Sports Medicine at the Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic CareNorthwestern Medicine recently welcomed Gordon Nuber, MD, to the Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Dr. Nuber is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine with extensive experience caring for athletes, both amateur and professional, with a wide range of sports-related injuries.

In addition to his role as an attending orthopaedic surgeon at Northwestern Memorial and professor of clinical orthopaedic surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Nuber also serves as a team physician for the Chicago Bears and previously worked with the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks.

We sat down with Dr. Nuber to get to know more about him and his approach to treating patients.

Why did you choose to specialize in sports medicine? Mostly because of my background playing college basketball at Northern Illinois University; I became interested because of injuries sustained and the treatment I received from doctors and athletic trainers. When I was in college, sports medicine didn't exist as a specialty and only became moderately popular when I was a resident. I felt like I could be on the cutting edge of an expanding field.

What types of patients and conditions do you treat? At this stage of my career, I predominantly treat shoulder, knee and elbow soft tissue injuries including rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, labral tears, ACL and meniscus injuries, injuries to articular cartilage and the arthroscopic surgery involved with these injuries.

Tell us about your experience caring for professional athletes and serving as a team physician for professional teams - any favorite memories? Going to the Super Bowl in Miami, but mostly the individuals you meet, the behind the scenes people who help the organizations run, as well as being part of an organization or team that is successful and feeling part of that success. I have worked with many players, coaches and athletic trainers who have become close friends.

How does treating professional athletes differ from amateur athletes? How does that experience benefit your patients? The treatment of the injury is the same, but with the professionals you are dealing many layers of decision makers – not just the player, but also family, agents, entourage, other doctors, etc. Certainly taking care of professional athletes gives you street credibility with the amateur athlete.

What is your philosophy for practicing medicine?
Patient comes first. Unfortunately, professional team physicians are sometimes perceived as only working for the team to "push" the player back on the field. As long as your patient is the top priority and not the organization, you will be a successful physician. I always remember the "3 As" of being a quality physician: Availability, Affability and Ability.

What do you want your patients to know about you? My goal is to always do my best no matter the patient and to always sweat the details. I only feel successful when the patient achieves all their goals.

Anything else you'd like to add? I have been very blessed to have been involved in the care of many patients; some professional, but most not. My hope is to approach each patient and each surgical case with the same tenacity, same precision and same ability as I would the most prominent professional athlete.

To make an appointment with Dr. Nuber, call 312.695.6800 or visit our online appointment form.

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