New clinic hopes to connect sports injury patients with top doctors

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Unless you're a professional athlete, seeing an orthopedic specialist after an injury is usually a struggle, oftentimes taking weeks to schedule an appointment--until now.

The University of Minnesota Health system is hoping to change that narrative with a new clinic that strives to see patients on the same day they call. It's called the University Health Sports and Orthopedic Walk-In Clinic, and it's staffed by many of the same doctors that are stationed at the Gophers' athletic events.

For those like Alicia Dhevlin, who seriously injured both knees while skateboarding recently, it's a lifeline.

“I was [at the emergency room] for seven hours. 7 hours!” she said. "And all within three days—two days before I was supposed to see an orthopaedic specialist somewhere else—these guys had me on the track to getting physical therapy set up, my surgery set up, everything was like, boom, boom, boom.”

With a torn ACL and another hurt ligament, Dhevlin says that being able to see top doctors in a timely manner made a huge difference in her recovery. For his part, Dr. Jeffrey Macalena—who is overseeing Dhevlin's recovery—agrees.

"The same injuries that our Gopher athletes have are the same injuries that people have playing in their softball leagues or pick up basketball games," he said. "And we have the opportunity to provide them the same expert level of care."