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Green Bay surgeon attracts high-profile professional athletes

(WBAY)
Published: Nov. 19, 2018 at 8:28 PM CST
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We’re used to seeing elite athletes visit Lambeau Field, both as players and fans. But the Packers aren’t the only ones drawing in the pros.

Just across the street from the Frozen Tundra, Dr. Robert Anderson, MD, draws hundreds of players from across the country to Bellin Titletown.

“I thought when I went to Green Bay maybe these guys wouldn't necessarily follow me here. But that hasn't been the case. They have been coming here,” the orthopedic surgeon and foot and ankle specialist says.

Big names

You may recognize the names of Anderson’s past patients: Derek Jeter, Steph Curry and Cam Newton, to name a few.

Some, like San Francisco 49er and former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman, even made the trek to Green Bay.

“Still in Green Bay,” Sherman said in a video posted to Twitter last year. “I’m going to come back faster than ever. I’m breaking records on how fast I’m coming back.”

So who is the man behind the operating mask?

Dr. Robert Anderson, or “Bob,” as he tells Action 2 News crews to call him.

After its grand opening in July 2017, Dr. Anderson became Director of Sports Foot and Ankle at Bellin Titletown,

How’d he end up here?

“A good friend of mine from medical school happens to be Dr. Pat McKenzie,” he says.

Packers team doctor Pat McKenzie encouraged Anderson to focus on sports medicine back in the ‘90s – and decades later encouraged him to move to Titletown.

“He’s been persuading me to come back to Wisconsin for the last ten to 15 years,” Anderson says.

History

Anderson is a Wisconsin native, having grown up in Wauwatosa. He attended the University of Mississippi as an undergraduate before moving on to the Medical College of Wisconsin.

His next big move came with an orthopedic residence in Charlotte, North Carolina, followed by a foot and ankle fellowship in Milwaukee.

Dr. Anderson’s foot and ankle specialty came about in the 1980’s, after he collaborated on multiple research papers about big toe injuries.

“By the late ‘80s, we had pretty much written most of the recent literature at that time on these big toe injuries,” he says.

After that came a call from Doc McKenzie, whose player suffered a similar big toe injury.

“[McKenzie] asked me to get involved and even operate on it. And then after that, things exploded.”

Anderson worked out of North Carolina for decades, assisting the Carolina Panthers from 1999 to 2017. That’s where he treated thousands of patients, before making his way to Titletown.

Sports injuries

Anderson says narrowing in on sports foot and ankle injuries “was being in the right place at the right time.”

He calls the foot and ankle an “untapped market” in the medical world, even more so in sports medicine.

That’s due to simple supply and demand: There aren’t that many doctors specializing in surgery for pro athletes.

“Once the word got around of us taking care of NFL players, it drifted into other professional sports like baseball, hockey, basketball,” Anderson explains.

Bellin Titletown

Since the opening of Bellin Titletown in July 2017, 200 elite athletes have made their way to Green Bay, to work with Dr. Anderson.

He says the “bells and whistles” of the Titletown facility drew him to Northeast Wisconsin, where he can do his patients justice.

“We spend a lot of time here in this VIP room with them, going over all their test results,” he explains. “Examining, and then deciding what the best plan of action is for them and their injury.”

Due to medical privacy laws, Anderson can’t disclose which players he’s working with. Many, like Richard Sherman, use social media to get the word out.

But the good news: You don’t have to be a pro athlete to see the doctor. Anderson sees Northeast Wisconsin “weekend warriors,” too, but you may have to practice some patience.

“We're seeing the general population. Understand that there's a little bit of a wait time to get in,” he says.

Anderson currently assists the Green Bay Packers with home games. He spends at least one long weekend a month back home in North Carolina, where his wife lives.