Dr. James Goff, DO, the new sports medicine physician at East Ohio Orthopaedics at Dover, has been connected to sports his entire life.
And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I have always loved to play and watch sports, and now I am committed to helping local athletes receive the very best care possible so they can perform at a high level and enjoy their sports experience,” said Goff, who sees patients at the East Ohio Orthopaedics office located in the Heritage Square Plaza. “I knew I wanted to always be involved in sports, and I always wanted to be a sports doctor.”
Goff is a graduate of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and is certified through the American Board of Family Medicine with an added qualification in sports medicine.
Goff has taken care of athletes at the professional and college levels, and is a native of the region, having played football at and graduated from Massillon High School. His father, Dave Goff, has taken care of the pressbox during football games on the home side of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for many years.
Goff also served a sports-medicine fellowship for numerous sports teams at Ohio State University during the 2002-03 academic year, allowing him to be part of the Buckeyes’ national championship football team under Coach Jim Tressel. Among the athletes he cared for during that time were Cie Grant, a New Philadelphia High graduate who was a significant member of the defense on the football team, and Dover High graduate Steve Caravati, one of the stars of the OSU baseball team.
“At that time there weren’t a lot of sports medicine fellowships around and it was much more competitive to be accepted into the fellowship program at Ohio State,” Goff said. “It was a tremendous experience – I even got to see Olympic-training regimens on the men’s gymnastics team – and it exposed me to a foundation and base of knowledge that I have been able to build on in sports medicine since then.”
Goff also has served as a team doctor for numerous high school sports teams, including Massillon, Fairless, Manchester and Green, as well as for the former Akron Aeros minor league pro baseball team and the sports teams at Kent State University and Malone University. He was on the sidelines at Penn State when Kent State played the Nittany Lions during Joe Paterno’s final season as PSU coach.
Over the past decade, Goff said he has witnessed a shift in the attitudes of athletes, coaches and parents about “playing through pain” change completely as they are taking the time to learn more about injuries, injury prevention and proper procedures to returning to the playing fields and courts.
“The emphasis on concussion care is an excellent example of how not only care protocols, but attitudes have changed, too, over the past 10 years or so,” he said. “I’ve taken the approach that athletes are not going to go back to sports until I think you are ready to go back to classes – once that happens then we can consider returning to sports.”
He said that another topic he expects to gain additional attention in upcoming years will be the growing trend of “over-use injuries” such as stress fractures and tendinitis that can be produced by young athletes playing a single sport all year long.
“I use what I call the NASCAR comparison to describe this – you can only go so many miles before you break down,” Goff said. “That’s why it is important to rest and play multiple sports, too.
“And it is also important to play only one sport per season. I also tell my athletes that once a season has ended, give yourself 10 days to two weeks to do nothing but to rest up and recover before moving on to the next sports season.”
Goff said he has adopted this approach with his own children, Kaydee, 8, and Sydnee, 11, who enjoy multiple sports. Goff’s wife Kimmi is an elementary teacher in the Tuslaw School District.
While Goff has enjoyed his work with athletes and teams at the highest levels, he said he likes working in smaller communities the best of all.
“You get to know the patients and their families much better, and you can provide better care for them because of this excellent communication,” he said. “You also can get to know the other doctors in the community so much better and that can lead to better care for your patients, too.”
More information about Union Hospital and all of its services provided to the community are available on the hospital’s website at www.unionhospital.org, and on the hospital’s page on Facebook.