In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

September 11, 2014

Lacing Up for the Hometown Team

By In the Loop

A high school football player kneels on the field. n4 PhotoVideo /

For some, it takes time and a few wrong turns to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. For Thomas Bramwell, D.O., all it took was a few high school football games. As the Tomah Journal and La Crosse Tribune reported, Dr. Bramwell, an orthopedist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Tomah and Onalaska, Wisconsin, says he first caught the medicine bug while playing running back in high school in the late 1990s.

Dr. Bramwell's doctor, Rodney Erickson, M.D., was "on the sidelines with the players and helping injured players get back on their feet." Now, 16 years later, Dr. Bramwell is working alongside Dr. Erickson, taking care of Mayo Clinic Health System patients. 

"I've been in this clinic as a patient, as a medical student, and now as a practicing physician," Dr. Bramwell says of his Tomah roots. "It's been amazing to go through that large of a part of your life and be in all those different positions."

Dr. Bramwell tells the paper that it was during his college football days, watching teammates recover from bone and joint injuries, that he settled on his orthopedic specialty. "I'd see those guys recovering from surgery and working hard to get back to the sport," he told the paper. And he decided he wanted to help others recover from orthopedic injuries of their own.

But it's not just fellow athletes that Dr. Bramwell enjoys helping. He tells the paper he gets great enjoyment out of easing the pain of everyone who comes to see him, especially those suffering from arthritis. "Once people are at the point where they have end-stage arthritis and are in so much pain every day just walking around, being able to get rid of that arthritis and take that pain away is very rewarding," he says.

Sue Christianson, director of Patient Care at Mayo Clinic Health System in Tomah, tells the Tribune that having Dr. Bramwell in the mix has helped fill a longstanding need for the community members who come to Mayo Clinic Health System for their care. "It's really a benefit to the patients," she says, adding that the fact that Dr. Bramwell was born and raised in Tomah is just one more "bonus" for the clinic and its patients. "It's fun just because he knows so many people," she says.

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Tags: Community, Dr. Rodney Erickson, Dr. Thomas Bramwell, Employee Stories, Mayo Clinic Health System, Orthopedics

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