Inspired by the greats of orthopaedic surgery
BY DR JONAS FERNANDEZ
Walking along the famous streets of Boston, the famous Freedom Trail was an absolute treat.
Many notable events have occurred in Boston. Popular monuments can be found almost every few hundred metres.
They say Boston is the birthplace of the American Revolution and the famous events leading up to it, like the Boston Tea Party. Apart from the historical sites, Boston is also home to a few great sports teams, the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Celtics, to name a couple. What a joy and privilege it was to walk amongst those great places.
However, last June, the world of sports surgery descended upon this famous city for another historical event. The 14th Biennial ISAKOS Congress was held, stretching over four days. Considered the premier meeting amongst sports surgery enthusiasts, the Congress drew upon the biggest names in the field, some considered pioneers and legends in the game of orthopaedic surgery.
It was a humbling and truly inspiring experience to rub shoulders and be in their presence.
A famous quote from William Arthur Ward reads, “The great teacher inspires”. Many great lectures and presentations were delivered, with some of the most up-to-date and advanced information. However, I have always felt that the “experience” gained from congresses of such stature is what I bring home the most.
Paula Pareto’s extraordinary feat
I often go home with a renewed sense of inspiration from being around and talking with those who have done it all before.
The most significant moment of inspiration came from the most excellent teacher of all. A man I have heard so much about and whose lectures I have watched many times online. However, I never had the privilege of meeting him in person. This man is none other than Dr Freddie Fu.
There was an event specially dedicated to him, a lifetime achievement in his name, bestowed on the person who has contributed to sports surgery through the years.
Although Dr Freddie is no longer with us, his presence and spirit were felt in the award ceremony as slides of his life and his contributions played on the projector. His wife and son were present to grace the ceremony.
One’s journey to becoming an orthopaedic surgeon is often long and challenging. Everyone is faced with different obstacles and trials. It takes a lot of dedication to achieve this goal.
But could you imagine doing this while also becoming an Olympic champion simultaneously? The legendary Paula Pareto achieved this extraordinary feat. She was present at ISAKOS to share with all of us her inspiring story.
I had never heard of her before this. So, I had to search for her online and on her Wikipedia page. What this woman has achieved is quite extraordinary. She is a former world and Olympic champion in the martial art of Judo.
She also received the Gold Olimpia Award as the best athlete of the year from her country, Argentina, in 2015. To put that into perspective, those were the years when Lionel Messi was at his prime, and she beat him to that award.
An opportunity to exchange work ideas
The fact that she achieved so much in the sporting world while pursuing a career as a doctor is mind-blowing. She had graduated from medical school just a couple of years before becoming an Olympic champion.
After hearing her story, I don’t think any of us could ever use work as an excuse to chase other passions we might have, be they playing a sport or learning to play a musical instrument.
There were so many others who graced the stage at the ISAKOS Congress. Each with their inspiring talk. The organisers put in a goliath effort in organising an event of this scale. There were talks ongoing in every room, each delivered by an outstanding faculty.
There were interactive sessions as well, like the “meet the expert” and surgical demonstrations. The organisers even put together a session for first-time attendees to get together in fellowship and to get to know each other. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to get to know other young surgeons worldwide and exchange work ideas and pleasantries.
If the opportunity ever presents itself, I would recommend visiting the beautiful city of Boston for its rich history, esteemed education establishments and famous sports teams.
Many of these sites can be found scattered throughout the city. Despite all of these sites, the Hynes Convention Centre took centre stage as it was where the 2023 ISAKOS Congress was held and the place to walk in the presence of some of the giants of orthopaedic surgery.
It was indeed an inspiring experience. – The Health
Dr Jonas Fernandez is an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Putrajaya Hospital. He is also a member of the Malaysian Arthroscopy Society (MAS).