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TO YOUR HEALTH TEXT BY BENEFIS HEALTH SYSTEM Jessica Hart, MD is an orthopedic surgeon at Benefis Health System – one of just seven percent of all female orthopedic surgeons in the U.S. She loves geing to see patients of all ages – from caring for injured student athletes to performing surgery and giving people life back with options like shoulder replacements. Are there ways to prevent some of the orthopedic injuries you treat? Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle can help prevent orthopedic injuries. Choose exercise that strengthens the muscles around the joints, while maintaining flexibility and mobility. e most common injuries I see are from overuse and from patients forgeing about the importance of mobility and flexibility. It is also important to give your body time to recover. Many people are very busy and will try to pack a full week's activity into one weekend, which can lead to injury. How does your athletic background support your goal to provide the best care possible? I know what it is like to be injured and unable to do the things you love to do – I was a competitive gymnast for 20 years. It motivates me to try and help get patients back to the activities they love, whether it's trying to get a college scholarship or playing with their grandchildren. When are you sure that surgery is the best option? It is very patient dependent, and it's all about quality of life. When all nonoperative measures have been eliminated and there is a surgery that can improve a patient's quality of life, we take that path. What is "sideline coverage" and what do you enjoy about working with local sports teams? It means being available to treat athletes during sporting events. I enjoy supporting teams on the sideline to cheer them on and provide optimized medical care at the time of injuries. Providing sideline coverage also allows me to be involved in all aspects a patient's care, from the time of injury through geing to see them get back on the field. Is there anything you've learned as a surgeon that you wish you knew when you were participating in elite athletics? I wish I knew the doctors treating me had my best interests at heart for my long-term health. As athletes, we tend to focus on the next competition or season, and it's challenging when the best thing is taking time away to heal. Now that I'm able to continue being active beyond my years as a gymnast, I thank those physicians for taking all factors into account when treating my injuries. I hope to do the same for all the athletes I treat. Surgeon and Former Gymnast Getting People Back to Activities They Love Surgeon and Former Gymnast Getting People Back to Activities They Love Jessica Hart, MD is an orthopedic surgeon at Benefis Health System. She treats everything om injured athletes to restoring lives with options like shoulder replacements. S MT SiG MT 84

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