Dr. Blake Boyett is the newest addition to the crew of physicians at OrthoSports Athens, having joined the practice last fall, and comes to the team with an unusual amount of experience for someone so young. If the name “Boyett” sounds familiar, it is because Blake’s uncle is Dr. Patrick Boyett, one of the founders of OrthoSports. He is also the only one in the OrthoSports franchise that performs spine surgeries, and has more than five hundred under his belt.
“All my life I knew I wanted to be a doc,” Blake said, and added that he had followed in his uncles’ footsteps, having more than one physician in the family. Blake was born “just over the border” in Mississippi, and grew up in Sulligent. He graduated from Sulligent High, and got his undergrad degree in bio/med from Samford University. He went to his Uncle Patrick’s alma mater, KCUMB, which stands for Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. As a kid, he was particularly fascinated with the heart, and thought he possibly would make cardiology his specialty, but the intricacies of the human spine ended up ruling the day.
It was at KCUMB that he met Emily, his bride of only a few months, who is also a nurse practitioner. They were married this fall, have just purchased their first house, and hope to be moved in before Christmas. While he was KCUMB, his mentor was Dr. Roger Jackson, the inventor of the spine table that is used for surgery at Athens Limestone Hospital. He also had the opportunity to work in an Emergency Room in Las Vegas, and learned the art of dealing with the human spine in a traumatic context. He told me that the doctors in Las Vegas especially loved the osteopaths for many reasons, but mostly because of the level of expertise the “spine docs” brought into the E.R., and their concern for their patients.
Between Kansas City, Las Vegas, and Athens, a very important part of Blake’s career development occurred in Dallas at the prestigious Texas Back Insitute. From 2015-2016, after he had completed his residency, Blake was accepted as a fellow at the Institute, and his mentor was Dr. Drew Dosset. Dr. Dosset is the one who keeps the spines of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers in one piece, and Blake feels his time with Dr. Dosset was invaluable. Dr. Blake did more than 500 surgeries while at Texas Back, and has dealt with everything from tumors, to cancers, to bulging discs, all manner of chronic conditions, and repairing previous operations that have not been successful. His association with the two major sports teams came with a lot of responsibility. He had to learn when it would be appropriate for a player to return to the field after a careful season of rehab, and when it was time to “hang up the jersey.” I asked him, “Did you ever have to tell someone that their career was over?” He nodded, and said, “It was tough on them and on me.”
As an osteopath, Dr. Boyett’s “medical philosophy” has to do with prevention as well as using surgery as a last resort. “Being as minimally invasive as possible is very important to me,” Dr. Boyett told me, and that included performing spine surgery as well as fusion. This can be challenging, especially when you are dealing with conditions such as scoliosis, (usually a sideways curve of the spine), or stenosis, (a painful narrowing of the open spaces within the spine). I asked him what would be his idea of a “dream day on the job,” and he said, “Keeping someone out of a wheelchair, or relieving the pain of someone who has a lumbar fracture.” He is also a voracious researcher, and currently is concentrating much of his own personal study and learning on sports related spine injuries.
I asked him why, if I needed a “spine guy”, should I come to him. Here’s what he said. “We have the most comprehensive approach to spine health, and have the latest technology. We also really care about our patients, and will never push someone to have surgery when it’s not necessary.” He also added, “We have experience with everything from sports related injuries, to those of the elderly.” I chuckled inside, seeing as I am technically a senior citizen who also runs 5Ks. Hopefully I will never have to go under the knife, but if I do, I am confident that I would be in good hands if Dr. Blake Boyett “has my back.”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner