In his words, Dr. Geoffrey Connor enjoys being close to the action. And as a founder of Homewood’s D1 Sports Medicine; a physician at Alabama Orthopedic, Spine and Sports Medicine Associates at St. Vincent’s East; the team doctor for the HHS football team; not to mention a husband and father-of-two; it’s safe to say action is a part of his daily routine. He’s also extensively published, well traveled and fluent in Italian.
Connor landed in Homewood by way of his residency and internship at UAB, and more importantly, through meeting his wife, Tammy, who grew up here. They have settled in Hollywood, making his commute to D1 about a mile, and Tammy’s interior design business is just down the road on Oxmoor.
“My grocer, dry cleaner, pharmacy, and favorite places to eat are all basically on the same couple of streets,” said Connor. “My wife’s family lives right around the corner. We are pretty much Everybody Loves Raymond come to life.”
The D1 sports training facility opened near Brookwood Medical Center in June of 2010 and is co-owned by former Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle and linebacker DeMeco Ryans along with UAB Olympian Vonetta Flowers. This location is the tenth opening of the nationwide D1 franchise, which was founded by Will Bartholomew in Franklin, Tenn.
Inside the 16,000-square-foot facility is an indoor turf field, weight rooms, therapy clinics and athletic performance enrichment services. Athletes of all ages and levels receive top-notch training and therapy from a staff of coaches and therapists. Boot camps are offered to give anyone—athlete or novice—an elite training experience. Nutritional advice, character building for the younger generation, sports therapy and even birthday parties round out the D1 experience.
Yet, unique to the Homewood D1 location is a specialty sports medicine practice directed by orthopedic surgeon Connor and his staff. The partnership of Connor’s practice extends the D1 performance sports training experience to include orthopedic therapy, surgery and rehabilitation under one roof.
“The D1 Birmingham location is really a first of its kind for both D1 and Birmingham in that it offers comprehensive medical and training services all in one location,” said Connor. “We have performance training, physical therapy, chiropractic care, a nutrition lab, a human performance lab, and of course, comprehensive orthopedic care, all on site—everything an athlete could need to stay at the top of their game right on campus.
“Birmingham and Alabama are such football focused places that this location was a no-brainer for them. CEO and founder Will Bartholomew saw a growing need for high-quality training programs and facilities geared toward athletes that not only want to stay fit but want to stay at a very competitive level athletically, especially during off-seasons when school facilities may not be available or when weather doesn’t permit outdoor training.”
Clearly Connor feels at ease on the sidelines of any sporting event, especially Homewood High School’s football games.
“I’ve spent about seven or eight years in various roles of being the ‘Team Doc’ for HHS,” he said. “My early days on the sidelines were in the ‘glory years’ before the transition to 6A. That has resulted in a lot of difficult times, I think, for such a small school. It should be nice to see how they transition back to 5A, where I think the school really belongs size-wise.”
A high school football player himself, Connor fondly recalls his own team docs, who invariably prescribed either “putting some ice on” or “rubbing some dirt on” every injury.
“From an orthopedic and sports medicine standpoint, there have been vast improvements from those days,” he said.
Perhaps more rewarding than his role at the high school is seeing his players go on to play college and pro ball.
“Interestingly, we are seeing as patients a large number of former Homewood athletes who have gone on to high-level Division I scholarships and the professional ranks,” Connor said. “That is probably based on a number of factors, our location and past relationship with HHS, as well as the fact that a number of those guys are now training at D1 in the off-season.”
Connor’s attraction to orthopedics and sports medicine, and subsequently the D1 facility, came naturally. In addition to enjoying an action-packed lifestyle, at the end of the day, it’s “the combination of working with athletes and getting to solve problems in a very concrete way,” that keeps this physician on the cutting edge of sports medicine.
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