It’s a hell of a story.
It’s more than local boy done good. It’s more than local boy done outstanding.
Chad Lavender is a Chesapeake native and Riverside High graduate, former WVU long snapper and current Marshall Health Orthopaedics doctor gone groundbreaking.
You’ve heard of Dr. James Andrews, the “athlete-centric” orthopedic surgeon? Dr. Lavender could one day gain similar recognition.
One day soon.
See, Lavender is making waves medically — not only nationally, but around the world. He’s developed the Lavender Fertilized ACL technique. He’s developed a variety of minimally invasive nanoscopic techniques. And Wheelhouse Creative LLC was proud to produce videos explaining the techniques. (Please see ACL video below.)
It all started, Lavender said, after joining WVU’s football team as a long snapper.
“Being part of that team taught me discipline,” Lavender said. “Getting up at 6 a.m. and working out and doing those things really helped prepare me for medical school. It helped prepare me mentally with my work ethic.
“When you played football back in those days you could be there from 6 a.m. through 9-10 p.m. because of study hall. That carried through medical school for me and today with my research. Research is endless. Plus, there’s a team approach. I’m a member of a research team.”
To say the research team’s results have been impressive is an understatement. Twenty percent through the ACL clinical trial, they’ve seen improved motion at two weeks and improved functional results at 12 weeks. There’s also been evidence of improved MRI results at 12 weeks.
“When you combine the ACL and nanoscopic techniques, I’ve had calls from surgeons in Florida,” Lavender said. “I’ve had people on Twitter reach out from Ireland, Australia, all over the world. All over the world these techniques have been published, submitted and made their rounds. It’s not just a regional thing.
“Now, we have other surgeons in other regions of the country doing this technique because of what they’ve seen us produce.”
And, again, the genesis was Lavender’s days as a Mountaineer football player.
“From my time at WVU I saw the effect knee injuries had on players’ careers,” said the surgeon. “That’s what has driven my passion – still to this day. It’s my passion to try and improve that.”
Lavender played for WVU from 2000-03 before starting his medical training that took him from Morgantown to Huntington to Virginia. Then he moved back to the Kanawha Valley. He works both in Teays Valley and Huntington.
“This chapter of my life has complemented those days as a football player,” Lavender said. “Yet now I’m trying to help all of our state. I have great connections at WVU still and go to the football games, but also here at Marshall our research team is doing great things.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a football field or our research, we need to bring positive things to our state. Our clinical trial has been a huge plus for our state.”
Lavender points to ex-Mountaineers in the Kanawha Valley like John Pennington, Quincy Wilson and George Shehl, all West Virginia State coaches. He keeps in touch with Rasheed Marshall, now in Pittsburgh.
“A lot of the relationships you take with you for life,” Lavender said.
Also, a lot of memories, like those of ACL injuries. As the good doctor said, that’s what fuels his passion, not the fame Dr. Andrews earned.
“That’s not what this is about,” Lavender said. “It’s about making athletes better and having better results. We’re already talking about the next phase comparing our technique to the gold standard of the patella tendon [surgery]. That would include several large institutions in a multi-center trial. For us in West Virginia to take the lead on that is unheard of.”
Again, it’s a hell of a West Virginia story.
Oh, and if you’re wondering Lavender’s fondest memory as a football player, here it is:
“I’ll never forget the Syracuse game, when Coach [Don] Nehlen was retiring,” Lavender said. “I had no idea that was happening. I’d always looked up to him – my entire life. I’d watched and gone to the games before playing. It was a shock to us.
“I’ll never forget that week and the weeks right after, including the bowl. Nehlen brought me there. Winning that Music City Bowl was one of my fondest memories.”
Now, Lavender is helping make athletes’ memories better. And he’s making the Mountain State proud along the way.
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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.