Dr. Ryan Slater knew after his first anatomy and physiology class as a junior in high school that he wanted to be a doctor. The three-sport athlete from American Fork High discovered his specific interest in sports medicine while playing on the BYU football team.
Unfortunately for his college football career, his first-hand exposure to sports medicine came as a patient to Dr. Matthew Roush, who tragically died in 2005 at age 41. Dr. Roush was the BYU team sports medicine doctor and showed Dr. Slater the positive influence a physician can have on athletes.
Clinically focused “I liked surgery, but I thrived when I was in a clinical setting. That pushed me further into the sports medicine specialty.”
Patient priority “I first determine if a patient needs surgery for the injury. If they do, I get them to the right surgeon. If not, we find another way to get them better. Most people would rather avoid surgery if they can. I work with great surgeons who are slow to cut. We’re all dedicated to what is best for the patient.”
Office invitation “Determining whether someone should come see me depends a lot on how comfortable the primary care doctor is with orthopedic care. Patients should feel comfortable asking their doctors that question. If a doctor doesn’t do a lot of orthopedic care, they should refer early. A good doctor recognizes his or her limitations. I certainly do.”
Medical misconceptions “I use a lot of injection therapies and my patients ask if it will hurt. The reality is, some injections are painful — and I will warn a patient beforehand — but usually shoulders and knees aren’t too painful if done right.”
Physical future “I’m excited about the research surrounding concussions. Clearly, there is a lot going on in that area. The truth is, the more we study them, the more we realize we don’t know much about concussions. I’m anxiously awaiting the data and research as it comes out.”
Doctor dos “Everybody wants to be listened to. Patients want to know they are understood and that their thoughts are valid. Then, patients want direction. I value doctors who listen and then give me advice on how best to proceed. Patients want to be involved in their care, too, and that’s good. They need to own their healthcare. People want someone who will listen and understand them, and then communicate their options. You have to have both communication and clinical skills or else you won’t be an effective doctor.”