By Wendy Sarubbi | September 29, 2014 3:49 pm

College of Medicine students learned from world-class athletes about the special relationship they need with their physicians – and even raced against the world’s fastest man – at an All-Star sports panel September 24. The event, hosted by the student Orthopedic Sports Medicine Interest Group (OSMIG), featured Former Orlando Magic player Mickael Pietrus, Orlando Magic Head Trainer Keon Weise and Olympic Gold Medalist Justin Gatlin — who even agreed to race two medical students on the front lawn of the college.

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Gideon J. Lewis, a Central Florida sports medicine specialist and surgeon who is a Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences alumnus. Dr. Lewis cares for the athletes on the panel.  “With sports medicine, you have to be creative,” he said. “Sometimes you have to think outside the box and incorporate other modalities like massage therapy. How do you tell the fastest man in the world to rest?”

An athlete with that very title sat just a few feet from Dr. Lewis on the panel. Justin Gatlin recently defeated Usain Bolt, who has been considered the fastest man in the world, with a 100-meter dash time of 9.94 seconds in Rome. Gatlin, who also has the world’s fastest 100-meter time this year, works with Dr. Lewis in Central Florida. “I’m not like a NFL or NBA player, I can’t play at 70 percent, I have to be pretty much perfect every time I get out there and run,” Gatlin said. ”As long as I’m healthy and my medical staff is helping to prevent injury, then we’re all going to be successful going forward.”

The consummate competitor, Gatlin later lined up against second-year student, Robby Pride and first-year student Trevor Getz for an impromptu 100-yard dash. Despite wearing pants and dress shoes, Gatlin safely beat the two students. But the physicians-in-training said the race was an event they’ll never forget. “It was an opportunity of a lifetime. Forever I can say I raced the fastest guy in the world,” said Pride, who was a four-year letter winner on Dartmouth University’s basketball team and a professional lacrosse player before medical school.  “I thought my athletic career was behind me, but this has to be one of the coolest athletic experiences I’ve ever had.”

Panel members explained that professional athletes must have a unique kind of trust with their physicians. “When you show that passion and knowledge for your field, it will come across,” said Weise. “We’re more apt to trust that you know what you’re doing, and we’ll follow suit when we can see that passion.”

At 32, Pietrus is an NBA veteran who talked about his career-long relationship with physicians, some good, some bad.  “I have so many injuries, my shoulder, my knees, my ankle my wrist,” Pietrus told the crowd. “I’ve always wanted to interact with medical students and learn how they prepare themselves to become doctors.”

OSMIG President and second-year student, Gabriel Glaun said the group organized the event to give students a broad look at the variety of career specialties.  “We wanted to give the students as many different perspectives and viewpoints of medicine as possible,” Glaun said. “I hope the students realize how much our school is capable of. We have so many resources to reach out to with all the doctors in the community.”

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