Like many sports medicine professionals, Bryan Vopat, MD, first developed an interest in orthopedics while recovering from an athletic injury in high school. Once a football player in the small town of Wilson, Kansas, he was drawn to the idea of helping athletes get back to their desired performance level after tearing his ACL.
"I was first exposed to sports medicine after I injured my ACL. I learned how the care these doctors provide allows patients to get back to their active lives," says Dr. Vopat. "I realized I wanted to help my patients fulfill their potential when returning from an injury."
Dr. Vopat attended The University of Kansas for his undergraduate and medical school education. He then moved to the East Coast, where he completed his orthopedic surgery residency and a trauma fellowship at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. To further develop his athletic specialization, Dr. Vopat completed a sports medicine fellowship through Harvard Medical School at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. There he helped take care of the New England Revolution, Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots during their 2015 Super Bowl season. He followed this with a foot and ankle fellowship, which he completed in July 2016.
By then a husband and father, Dr. Vopat moved back to Kansas with his wife, Lisa, also a sports medicine physician, to raise their family. Now a physician at The University of Kansas Health System's Sports Medicine and Performance Center, Dr. Vopat brings invaluable experience and expert ability to the already exceptional team of sports medicine professionals.
At each level of his education and medical training, Dr. Vopat has been recognized for excellence. While a student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, he was awarded membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. This honor recognizes graduating medical school students who have excelled academically, demonstrated professionalism and who show promise of becoming leaders in medicine.
During his residency at Brown, Dr. Vopat received the Dean’s Excellence Award in Teaching, the Michael G. Ehrlich Basic Science Residency Award and was voted the most valuable resident in the orthopedics department by his peers. During his sports medicine fellowship, he received the nationally recognized Herodicus Traveling Fellowship Award, which enabled him to learn firsthand from the nation’s leaders in sports medicine. He also recently received a research grant from the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.
Dr. Vopat’s interests include participating in groundbreaking sports medicine research. Throughout his career, he has been involved in research that includes reviewing recommendations for the aging athlete and supplemental ACL fixation. Most recently, he researched the effects of injuries on NFL players and their careers.
While working with athletes at Brown, Dr. Vopat also noticed a trend that sparked his desire to specialize in foot and ankle injuries. "About 30% of the sports injuries there were foot and ankle injuries, and many of the sports medicine doctors didn’t really know what to do with them," he says. "A lot of doctors look at the knee and don’t go any lower. But athletes are on their feet constantly, and it's important that medical professionals understand how the entire lower body works together. I try to view the knee, ankle and foot as one unit."
For Dr. Vopat, part of the draw to The University of Kansas Health System's Sports Medicine and Performance Center was the chance to work with athletes of all ages and levels, each with different goals.
"That's certainly a positive," he says. "I love treating all active people and helping them reach their goals and get back to their desired activity levels. That can be anyone from a professional athlete to a weekend warrior to a high school athlete. My goal is to help them achieve their personal goals and get back to their way of life."
Drs. Bryan and Lisa Vopat are the proud parents of two children and reside in Overland Park, Kansas.