Sports Docs’ Weekly Blitz: There is no offseason

Dear Cyclone Fanatics,

Dr. Thomas Greenwald here welcoming you back to the world of ISU Sports Medicine. My partners in Sports Medicine at McFarland Clinic and fellow orthopedic consultants with the Iowa State Athletic Department, Dr. Peter Buck and Dr. Bryan Warme, and I hope you had an excellent summer of relaxation and refreshment. But now it’s back to work getting ready for a fall season of Cyclone victories.

However in all honesty, the Cyclone student-athletes and the folks who take care of them have never stopped working, as modern day Division 1 college athletics is a year-round endeavor. Summer is the time (for all of us) ‘to get better’, and in today’s blog I thought I’d shed some light on how that improvement takes place.


When Spring semester is over, the football players get a couple weeks off before starting their summer conditioning program that lasts from May through July. This includes an intensive eight week session of workouts to improve strength, speed and performance under the direction of Clayton Oyster and the ISU strength & conditioning staff. They also are allowed some limited interaction with coaches, working in position groups on skill development.

Besides working out, the student-athletes also take summer school classes. Unfortunately, some of the athletes are rehabbing injuries, having undergone off-season surgery, and are working hard with the trainers’ assistance to "get back in action" for the upcoming season. The football trainers, including Mark Coberley, Shannon Peel and Nate Postma, are at the Jacobson Building every day throughout the summer working with these athletes to help them get better. 

Besides the football players, the ISU athletic trainers and doctors are also busy honing their craft and improving their skills. The ATCs met in Fort Worth in May for the Big 12 Medical Aspects of Sports, with each school sending trainers to discuss health concerns with regard to the Big 12 athlete. New techniques and aspects of care were shared and implementation was planned. In June, nearly 20 percent of the nation’s 50,000 ATCs gathered in St. Louis for the NATA annual meeting. Similar discussion, education and collaboration took place but on a national level, including new guidelines for care of football players with head and spinal injuries.

Meanwhile, the ISU team doctors were busy this summer as Dr. Buck, Dr. Warme and I joined nearly 30 of our colleagues at the Big 12 team doctors meeting in Colorado Springs in June. For 20 years, this group of physicians has been meeting on a yearly basis to discuss how to take better care of our student-athletes. We share talks on the medical and surgical aspects of diagnosing and treating common, and uncommon, ailments and injuries that occur in Division 1 athletes. This interaction increases cooperation of the medical staffs as we travel to each others’ venues throughout the year. And the three of us orthopedic surgeons, working closely with Dr. Marc Shulman (the ISU primary care team doctor) continue to care for any injuries that may occur during the summer workouts.

It’s been a busy summer but we’re excited for the upcoming season of Cyclone success in football, volleyball, soccer and cross country. Dr. Buck, Dr. Warme and I are excited to keep you up to date on medical issues as they pertain to your ISU student-athletes. Like last year, we will write the Sports Docs’  Weekly Blitz, keeping you medically informed.

Until next time, Go Cyclones! 

Want to book an appointment with Dr. Greenwald or one of his colleagues? CLICK HERE to visit the McFarland Clinic’s website today. 


Dr. Thomas Greenwald