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A Much-Needed Specialty: Research & Innovation Drive Dr. Jacob Katz’s Sports Medicine Practice

Dr. Jacob Katz
American University of Antigua College of Medicine, Class of 2013
New York Arthritis Clinic and Sports Medicine, New York, NY
Sports Medicine Fellow, Bayfront Health, Saint Petersburg, FL
Sports Medicine Fellow, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Saint Petersburg, FL
Ringside Physician, Boxing & MMA, Florida State Boxing Commission, Tallahassee, FL
Family Medicine Resident, ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital, Monroe, MI

Sports medicine specialist Dr. Jacob Katz is excited to be back in New York. Born in the country of Georgia and raised in Brooklyn, Dr. Katz spent several years completing two sports medicine fellowships in Florida after finishing a residency in rural Michigan. Today, Dr. Katz — who speaks both Georgian and Russian — is happy to be treating patients in his community. “I’m located in the Kings Highway area of Brooklyn where I grew up,” says Dr. Katz. “There aren’t many sports medicine specialists here. The patients are a diverse group that come to me from all over New York City.” Dr. Katz also practices in Manhattan.

At New York Arthritis Clinic and Sports Medicine, Dr. Katz works closely with his mother Victoria, a rheumatologist. They see patients of all ages, from young children to the elderly. The majority of those whom Dr. Katz treats suffer from acute and chronic injuries often related to overuse. “Many of my patients are in agony,” explains Dr. Katz. “Being able to ease their pain by treating the joint directly is extremely rewarding.”

Sports medicine has a special interest for Dr. Katz because it presents him with patients who have been inactive and want to become active again. As a nonsurgical sports medicine physician, he enjoys the challenge of drawing on a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic tools and methods that can prevent the need for surgery.

He once treated a young soccer player who was experiencing pain while running. By the time this patient came to see Dr. Katz, he had already been to multiple specialists who couldn’t offer any definitive explanation. Whether it was attributable to knee issues or growing pains, they couldn’t say. Using in-office testing, Dr. Katz was able to diagnose him with exertional compartment syndrome, a combined musculoskeletal, vascular, and neurological condition. He then referred the patient to an orthopedist to help manage his condition.

To reach diagnoses and provide therapy, Dr. Katz often uses ultrasound. He is particularly eager to talk about a newer technique that he’s been using, however, to treat patients with conditions like tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, arthritis, and golfer’s elbow. For muscle tears he uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. In PRP, platelets are separated from small amounts of a patient’s blood and re-injected into the affected area. The objective is for the platelets to initiate tissue recovery with the growth factor they secrete. Dr. Katz has seen great results among the patients he’s treated using PRP. “It’s very effective with middle-aged athletes,” he says. “There are no side effects, and essentially it’s your body healing itself. I call it WD-40 for the knee.” He plans to write and publish research on his use of PRP once he’s treated more patients using the technique.

Dr. Katz is further along in his research on the topic of youth specialization in sports. It’s a project that he began in Florida during a fellowship. He has gathered data from high school athletes who were selected to play Division I college sports. The study asks whether students who concentrate on one sport throughout childhood and adolescence or those who play multiple sports are more likely to be selected for DI.

Dr. Katz is also a concussion specialist and is very involved in teaching his patients about the treatment of and recovery from concussions. With regard to the current debate over youth football, Dr. Katz believes that the game will continue to be played but hopes there will be improved education for athletes on proper tackling techniques that reduce the frequency of head injuries.

Despite his obvious passion for science and medicine, Dr. Katz wasn’t always headed for a career as a physician. Before attending AUACOM, he worked as an optician and was the proprietor of his own eyeglass shop. Yet the pull of scientific inquiry was too great to ignore. “I was always fascinated by the musculoskeletal system and knew medicine was a never-ending road to learning and continuous communication with patients.” After a long journey, that road has led him back home.