Dr. Kevin Stone – The Stone Clinic

Published by Susan Zaro on

Dr. Kevin Stone is an Orthopedic Surgeon at The Stone Clinic and Chairman of the Stone Research Foundation in San Francisco. The clinic treat athletes and people with arthritis and focuses on knee, shoulder and ankle injuries. The Foundation conducts research on advanced surgical techniques and tissue regeneration for orthopedic sports medicine. Dr. Stone has lectured around the world as an expert in cartilage and meniscal growth, replacement and repair. Dr. Stone is a physician for Smuin Ballet. He has served as a physician for the U.S. Ski Team, the U.S. Pro Ski Tour, the Honda Ski Tour, the Jeep 48 Straight Tour, the Old Blues Rugby Club, Lawrence Pech Dance Company, Marin Ballet, the modern pentathlon at the U.S. Olympic Festival and for the United States Olympic Training Center.

The Stone Clinic strives for athletes to return, fitter, faster, stronger after injury occurs

SZ: What sports did you participate in growing up?

KS: I competed in soccer and rowed crew. I participated at the high school and college level.

SZ: Did you incur any serious injuries through your sport activities that influenced your decision to become an orthopedic surgeon?

KS: Yes, I was a college freshman and I tore my meniscus. I admired the surgeon who took it out and I admired the role he played in the process. This influenced me to become an orthopedic surgeon.

SZ: Did the injury prevent you from participating in soccer?

KS: Yeh, it stopped me from playing soccer and I switched to rowing full-time.

SZ: The Stone Clinic website has an Athletic Injury Recovery page that lists tips to encourage recovering athletes to remain connected to their sport mentally and physically in modified ways while they heal from injury. Share some of the emotional and physical benefits you notice when athletes take this advice.

KS: The most important thing is that when people are injured they often see themselves as patients in rehab. What we try to do is to stimulate them to think of themselves as athletes in training to use the injury as an excuse to become fitter, stronger, faster than they’ve been in years.

SZ: Do you find resistance at first? Or are people eager to jump in and have an opportunity to be active and moving again?

KS: The patients that are motivated become motivated to recover quickly. Patients who don’t hear that message don’t do as well.

SZ: You are currently the Smuin Ballet physician. Through the years you’ve served as a physician for several ballet companies as well as U.S. Pro and Olympic Ski Teams. Elite performers begin intensive training early in their lives. What advice/guidelines do you offer to parents and coaches regarding youth injury prevention?

KS: The most important thing is cross training. Playing multi sports especially as kids.  Kids that get into trouble are those that play a single sport year round. Number two, there is superb professional training even for kids that are very young. By taking advantage of professional training including weight training and conditioning they are less likely to be injured. There are knee ACL injury prevention programs and a host of things that educate kids better than we were able to do before.

SZ: Do you have an favorites? Or any suggestions that parents could look for in terms of a good program?

KS: It depends on the child’s age and their sport interests. I think programs at Cross Fit are becoming more directed towards youth sports as well as teaching kids proper technique for weight lifting and strength training. Getting kids involved in activities they wouldn’t normally do as kids such as yoga and pilates helps broaden their flexibility and body awareness. But the whole concept is really providing multi-sports rather than a single sport.

SZ: In 2008 the Stone Clinic hosted the StoneFit Pro Women’s Athlete’s Career Conference. What was your inspiration for presenting this well attended conference? Do you anticipate reviving this event in the future?

KS: The inspiration developed because I work with so many top level multi-national athletes who have so few career opportunities and who didn’t really have any training in creating those career opportunities. So it seemed like a clear need and it was part of my  passion for  helping athletes choose their goals professionally and career wise. The event was expensive to host so we may do another one if we find the right partners to do it with.

SZ: During your career you’ve invented numerous products and hold 50 patents on novel inventions to improve health care. Which invention has been most successful and why?

KS: It depends on how you define success but the one’s that are focused on making animal tissues useful for people have been some of the most satisfying. They are being allowed in clinical trials in Europe right now and will most likely change the way we are able to do ACL surgery by providing pig ligaments rather than human ligaments for people that injure their knees.

SZ: Do you have any favorite quotes that have guided you on your professional path as an innovative orthopedic surgeon?

KS: People ask me how I get so much done and I answer, I find a lot of time in every second.

SZ: Anything you would add to this conversation?

KS: Most of the injuries that we see are from mental errors. Mental error most of the time is from the athlete not having their head in the game. So the purpose of stretching or warming up before sport activities is mostly to clear the brain of other distractions and to focus on the athletic activity that’s about to start. Athletes who are very good about doing that are able to focus and get their head in the game. They tend to make fewer mental errors that lead to injuries. I think that’s maybe one of the most important parts.

SZ: Dr. Stone thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to have this conversation regarding sport injury and prevention tips.

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