The football team has faced numerous staff changes over the past season. Director of Orthopedic Athletic Medicine for USC Athletics Seth Gamradt, however, has remained on the sidelines through it all.
“I’m on the sidelines for all the football games, home and away,” Gamradt said. “I try to go to as many of the other sports as I can, but you can’t be in every place at once.”
As director, Gamradt tends to athletes from all 21 of the University’s Division I intercollegiate college sports. When he’s not healing athletes, he’s teaching academic fellows and residents about sports medicine surgery as an associate professor of clinical orthopedic surgery.
He played many sports while growing up and has always been a big sports fan, his favorite being football. After he graduated from Pepperdine University, Gamradt departed for Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. There, he found his passion in sports medicine.
“When I was at medical school, some of my mentors and favorite doctors were sports medicine physicians who cared for the teams in New York,” Gamradt said. “I also wanted to do sports medicine and wanted to care for both recreational and collegiate athletes in my career.”
One of his favorite doctors was Russell Warren, the head physician of over 30 years for the New York Giants.
“He’s someone that I modeled my career after,” Gamradt said. “He’s one of the absolute legends in the field and it’s nice to have role models like that.”
After completing his one-year residency at UCLA Medical Center, Gamradt followed in Warren’s footsteps by working on the sidelines of the Giants as an assistant team physician. After working with the Giants, he returned to UCLA to work as a faculty member for seven years as a team physician for football, women’s soccer and baseball.
In 2013 he was asked to come to USC and take his current position.
“That was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” he said. “So instead of being a Bruin, I’m now a Trojan.”
His typical day at Keck School of Medicine of USC consists of a specific process. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Gamradt performs between five and six surgeries per day starting at 7:30 a.m. Other days, Gamradt teaches at an academic conference about sports medicine surgery and sees between 30 and 40 patients.
“You’re constantly doing surgeries that have a high success rate,” Gamradt said. “Patients come in with either pain or disfunction in their shoulder, knees or elbows, and you’re able to make their quality of life better from a pain and function standpoint.”
He considers every healed patient a “small victory” and conducts clinical research to improve future surgeries.
“We’re focused on outcome data,” Gamradt said. “We look at the results of all the surgeries that we do, and we determine how to improve those outcomes of shoulder and knee procedures in the future.”
Though he believes it’s impossible to prevent all injuries from taking place due to the nature of sports, particularly contact sports, ways to reduce injury exist.
“You’ll never take the risk to zero, but there are certain exercises that all athletes can do to try and prevent those types of injuries from happening,” Gamradt said.
Though his work schedule is demanding, he finds the profession rewarding.
“Every day is a highlight,” Gamradt said.
Dr. Gamradt sees patients at the USC Health Sciences Campus and Keck USC Beverly Hills. He is also available to see students, faculty and staff at the Engemann Student Health Center on Fridays.