WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE – If there’s anybody who understands the struggles patients may face trying to come back from a serious sports- or activity-related injury and what’s at stake getting back to peak performance, it’s Kyle Ott, MD.
A sports medicine physician who joined Adena Fayette Medical Center in late 2022, Dr. Ott won two state wrestling titles while at Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio, and was being aggressively recruited by Division I colleges across the country when, for him, the unimaginable happened. Training for his pursuit of a third state title, he suffered a meniscus tear in his knee during the summer following his junior year and had to undergo surgery to repair the damage.
While no stranger to injury during his wrestling career, this surgery would be different. His knee turned a deep purple, swelled, and the skin over it unexpectedly blackened and died. For a while, the physical pain was intense, matched only by the psychological pain of a teenager who had put so much of himself into pursuing his dream of wrestling at the Division I level and was left wondering if that dream was in the same condition as the skin on his knee.
“At that point, I didn’t know if I was going to wrestle again or if I was going to even walk correctly again,” he said. “To make matters worse, this was during the peak of the collegiate wrestling recruiting process. One by one, when previously interested coaches from the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Ivy League, and others started finding out I would be having more surgeries and my future seemed unpredictable, my stock went down fast. It was very difficult because you’re going through all this and trying to recover physically, making up for missed school, and trying to stay mentally and emotionally solid through it all. It was a tough time.”
Through raw determination and with the help of a plastic surgeon who was able to perform a World War II-era procedure utilizing major skin grafts over several surgeries to repair the damage, Dr. Ott proved any doubters wrong. After transferring to St. Paris Graham High School for his senior year, he won his third state title and, weeks later, he followed that up with a high school national title wrestling on a knee that later required more surgery.
More success in his sport followed. He won titles at the 2022 FILA Junior World Nationals and 2002 University National Championships, then went on to become a two-time NCAA finalist at the University of Illinois and worked as an assistant wrestling coach at West Virginia University. He stays involved with the sport to this day, assisting young wrestlers during the annual state high school wrestling championships.
His experiences with injury and the impressions left on him by the physicians who treated him ended up having an unexpected benefit. They helped him find his future career path.
He graduated from Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, completed a residency with Wright State University and Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, and completed a sports medicine fellowship at the Kettering Sports Medicine Center in Dayton. Prior to joining Adena Orthopedic and Spine Institute working out of Adena Fayette Medical Center, he worked in private practice as a family medicine practitioner and worked with a private practice orthopedics group. He believes his current role offers the perfect opportunity to bring some of his own prior experiences to bear in service to his patients.
“Sports medicine is without question where my confidence, passion, background and medical training truly intersect,” he said. “It provides me further opportunity to integrate intangible assets gained form my past as an elite competitor, orthopedic surgery patient, physical therapy patient, NCAA Division I wrestling coach, and the added perspective as an aging ex-athlete and parent, to best care for my patients.”
Dr. Ott, in addition to treating sports injuries and performing sports physicals, also works with arthritis, bursitis, concussions, fractures, joint injections, joint pain, ligament and tendon injuries, sprains and strains, and tendonitis. His personal experiences help him empathize with any struggles his patients may be facing in their medical journey and make it easier for him to speak knowledgeably with athletes and, in the case of high school students, their parents about whether it’s possible to play through an injury or slow down and care for it to avoid causing long-term harm.
“We want to give them confidence in us so that every time you bump this or bump that, you see we’re not trying to take you out of activities, but sometimes we have to make some hard calls to help you out,” he said.
His experience and desire to get to know his patients as people also helps him recognize when someone may be underplaying how much they are hurting from an injury. He offers the following advice to those suffering from an injury who are on the fence about seeking treatment.
“It it’s bugging you and you’ve tried to be reasonable about it, given it some rest, tried whatever over-the-counter medication that may be appropriate, and done some exercises to address the issue and your condition is just not improving, it’s time to seek help,” he said. “My feeling is why keep suffering when you don’t really know what’s going on? If we are able to catch something early, there are going to be more options for you that are less extensive, less complicating, and less expensive.”
To learn more about the wide array of services provided by Adena Orthopedic and Spine Institute, as well as to find contact information to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ott, visit Adena.org/aosi.