The sports medicine world lost one of its pioneers late Thursday night when Dr. Frank Jobe passed away in Santa Monica, Calif. at the age of 88.
As co-founder of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, Dr. Jobe was perhaps best known as the Godfather of Tommy John Surgery, the preferred term for ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction. He performed the first such procedure on its namesake, a Dodgers pitcher, in 1974.
Dr. Jobe also served as a mentor to Michael Ciccotti, M.D., director of sports medicine at the Rothman Institute and head team physician for the Phillies.
“Dr. Jobe had an incredible impact on sports medicine—particularly in baseball—and is recognized worldwide as one of the forefathers of sports medicine,” says Dr. Ciccotti. “There are countless baseball careers prolonged by his innovative surgical techniques, but there are also the hundreds of physicians, therapists and trainers he’s influenced along the way.”
Dr. Ciccotti became one such physician in 1991, when he first met Dr. Jobe while completing his sports medicine fellowship at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic.
“He was a true mentor,” he recalls. “He taught me not only clinical and surgical skills, but how to care for athletes at all levels—not just professionals.”
Since completing that fellowship, Ciccotti remained close with Dr. Jobe both personally and professionally. The duo made presentations at conferences, co-authored numerous papers and continued to work closely throughout their respective careers.
“Dr. Jobe was a great doctor, a very important researcher—but for me, all of his many accomplishments can’t compare to the person he was—the friend he was to me. He’s had a great impact on so many people—he will be sorely missed, but he has certainly left his fingerprint on the world and especially on sports medicine.”
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