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James N. Johnson, MD


Non-Surgical Sports Medicine

Dr. Johnson specializes in sports medicine, tendinitis, arthritis, and the treatment of overuse injuries. Dr. Johnson is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL and a Sports Medicine Fellowship at Stanford University and San Jose Medical Center in California.

Dr. Johnson is a clinical instructor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s department of family medicine, and he also serves as a clinical assistant professor at Meharry Medical College. Among his affiliations with local, regional, and national sports teams, Dr. Johnson is a team physician for the U.S. Olympic Swim Team, the USA National Swim Team, Nashville Ballet, the Nashville Aquatic Club (NAC), and Lipscomb University.

Dr. Johnson focuses on comprehensive non-surgical treatment of sports-related injuries, and the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and tendinitis.

Dr. Johnson’s knowledge and experience in sports medicine, arthritis and overuse injuries adds to and complements the array of services that Elite Sports Medicine offers its patients.

Dr. Johnson’s specialties include:

  • All Sports-Related Injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Acute and Subacute Sprain and Strain
  • Acute Disc Herniation
  • Work-Related Injuries

Educational Background

Undergraduate – Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
Degree: B.A. – Mathematics
Phi Beta Kappa
Summa Cum Laude

Medical School – Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Nashville, TN
Degree: Doctor of Medicine

Internship – Transitional Internship
1993-1994 Mayo Clinic
Graduate School of Medicine
Jacksonville, FL
USAF Aerospace Medicine Primary Course
Brooks AFB, TX
Flight Surgeon
July – Sept 1994

Residency – Family Medicine
Mayo Clinic
Graduate School of Medicine
Jacksonville, FL

Fellowship – Sports Medicine
Stanford University/San Jose Medical Center
Palo Alto and San Jose, CA

Board Certification

American Board of Family Practice
Certified 2001-2008 Recertified 2007-2014

Certificate of Added Qualification, Sports Medicine
Certified 2002-2012

Military Experience

July 1994 – Aug 1998United States Air Force – Active Duty
Captain July 94-Feb 98
Major (select) 1 Feb 98
Honorable Discharge 4 Aug 98

July 1994Officer Training School
Maxwell AFB, AL
Top Performer

March 1989-July 1994United States Air Force Reserve
Second Lieutenant

Professional Experience

2012-PresentElite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics Center
Sports Medicine Physician

2010-2011The Pain Management Group, PC
Director, Sports Medicine Center
Sports Medicine Physician

2005-2010 Nashville Orthopaedic Specialists, PC
Sports Medicine Physician
Chief Operating Officer

2003-2005Southern Sports Medicine
Sports Medicine Physician

2001-2003Palo Alto Medical Clinic
Family Practice/Sports Medicine
Primary-Care and Sports Medicine
Stanford Sports Medicine, Team Physician

1997-1998Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, Primary Care
Primary outpatient provider for active duty and retired military and their dependents, ages eighteen and older. Developed and implemented health promotion screening program for all active duty members.

1996-1997Travis AFB, CA, Cardiology Research
Developed a protocol for emergency department management of any patient presenting with chest pain.

Aug 1996-Oct 1996Yokota Hospital, Yokota AB, Japan
Emergency Room Physician

Sep 1994-Aug 1996Robins Hospital, Robins AFB, GA
Family Practice Physician, 1995-1996
Served as primary care physician for active duty and retired military families of all ages, including infants. Rotated call duties with four family physicians and worked acute care and emergency room shifts three to four times monthly.

Flight Surgeon 1994-1995
Began four-year commitment as a Captain in the United States Air Force taking care of aviators and their dependents and providing education to flying squadrons on the effects of flight on human physiology.

Medical Directorships

  • 2005-present – Susan Underwood Physical Therapy
  • 2005-2009 – Australus Physical Therapy
  • 2009 – STAR Physical Therapy
  • 2003-2009 – Results Physiotherapy

Continuing Medical Education

July 2011USOC Concussion Symposium
Colorado Springs Colorado
9 units CME

Dec 2010American Board of Family Medicine
Maintenance of Certification
45 Units CME

Feb 2010Musculoskeletal MRI
18 Units CME

June 2009Sports Medicine Update: Fingers to Toes
35 Units CME

June 2008Use of the AMA Guides, 6th Edition
12 Units CME

July 2007Vanderbilt Sports Medicine Conference
6.5 Units CME

October 2006AAOS Workers Compensation Course
24 Units, Cat I CME

October 2006AAOS Expert Witness Course
5.25 Units, Cat I CME

July 2006Vanderbilt Sports Medicine Conference
6.5 Units CME

October 2005Vanderbilt Shoulder Conference
6.5 Units CME

October 2005Mayo Alumni Meeting
12 Units, Cat I CME

Sept 2005People-to-People Ambassador Program
Sports Medicine
23.5 Units CME

Oct 2004FINA World Sports Medicine Congress
Indianapolis, IN
12 Units, Cat I CME

Nov 2003Advanced Teams Physicians Course
Phoenix, AZ
28 Units, Cat I CME

May 2002American College of Sports Medicine
St Louis, MO
32 Units, Cat I CME

Feb 2002AAFP Sports Medicine CSQ Review
St Louis, MO
35 Units, Cat I CME

May 2001American College of Sports Medicine
Baltimore, MD
32 Units, Cat I CME

April 2001American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
San Antonio, TX
32.75 Units, Cat I CME

June 2000Primary Care Update
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fl
26 Units, Cat I CME

June 2000American College Sports Medicine
Indianapolis, IN
35 Units, Cat I CME

June 1996Primary Care Update
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
26 Units, Cat I CME

May 1996Family Medicine Update
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
31 Units, Cat I CME

Teaching Experience

2004-PresentClinical Asst Professor
Assistant Fellowship Director, Sports Medicine
Meharry Medical College
Dept of Family Medicine

2004-PresentClinical Instructor
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Department of Family Medicine

2001-2003Clinical Instructor (Voluntary Clinical Faculty)
Stanford University School of Medicine
Preceptor of Fellows/Residents/Medical Students
Instructor in Physical Diagnosis and Intro to Clinical Medicine
Lecturer to Internal Medicine Residency

2000-2001Preceptor, Family Medicine Resident Clinic, Stanford University
San Jose Med Center Family Medicine Residency

1997-1998Clinical Instructor, Kettering Medical Center
Physician Assistant Program
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

1988-1989Statistics Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
Vanderbilt University Department of Mathematics

Invited Lectures

April 2011“Diagnosis and Management of Acute and Chronic Musculoskeletal Injuries.”
Orthopaedics for Non Orthopaedists
Baptist Sports Medicine

July 2011“Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries.”
Sports Medicice Symposium
Baptist Sports Medicine

Sept 2005“Swimming Biomechanics and Injury Prevention”
People to People Ambassador Program
New Zealand Academy of Sport
Auckland, New Zealand

Nov 2004“The Back, Hip, and Knee Exam”
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
FMIG, Nashville

Oct 2004“Little League Shoulder in Non-throwers”
Baptist Sports Medicine Lecture Series, Nashville

Sept 2004“The Shoulder Exam.”
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG), Nashville.

Sept 2004“Olympic Dreams.” Excel Aquatice Olympic Day.

April 2004“Two Cases of Fatigue and Syncope.”
Baptist Sports Medicine Lecture Series, Nashville

Feb 2004“Stress Fractures in Female Athletes.”
Baptist Sports Medicine Lecture Series, Nashville

April 2003“Shoulder Injury Incidence in Swimmers.”
Vanderbilt University Sports Medicine Fellows
Conference, Nashville

March 2003“Management of Acute Athletic Injuries.”
Nashville Medical Group Lunch Conference

Sept 2002“Infectious Illness and Prevention.” And “Biomechanics and Injury Prevention.”
American Swim Coaches World Clinic, Las Vegas

June 2002“Two Cases of Fatigue and Syncope.”
Palo Alto Medical Clinic/Redwood Shores
Office Grand Rounds, Redwood City

April 2002“Management of Acute Athletic Injuries.”
Palo Alto Clinic/Redwood Shores Office
Grand Rounds, Redwood City

March 2002“Infection and Immunity in Exercise.”
Internal Medicine Residency
Stanford University School Of Medicine

2001-2002Medical Topics Lecturer
Stanford University Sports Medicine Fellowship
Stanford, CA

2000-2001Monthly Musculoskeletal Lectures to Stanford
Family Medicine and Internal Medicine Residents
Palo Alto, CA

May 2001Musculoskeletal Week Lectures (series of four)
Stanford University
PA/NP Primary Care Associate Program
Palo Alto, CA

April 2001“Two Cases of Fatigue in Swimmers.”
USA Swimming Sports Medicine Society Meeting
Colorado Springs, CO


  • “Adolescent athlete’s shoulder: a case series of proximal humeral heard epiphysiolysis in non-throwing athletes.” Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, Jan 2006.
  • “Aquatic Rehabilitation.” Chapter in Complete Rehabilitation edited by Andy Cole. November 2003.
  • “Competitive Swimming Illness and Injury: a review of common conditions limiting participation.” Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2(5), October 2003.
  • “Swimming Biomechanics and Injury Prevention.” The Physician and Sports Medicine, 31(1), Jan 2003, 41-8. Reprinted in ASCA Magazine June 2003 and Polish sports medicine journal Summer 2003.
  • HYPONATREMIA – Swimmer. ACSM Clinical Case Abstract and Presentation. 30 May 2002
  • “Mononucleosis.” USA-Swimming Website, 5 January 2002
  • “Understanding Swimmer’s Shoulder and More.” USA-Swimming Website, 4 October 2000; and ASCA Magazine, Jan 2001.
  • FATIGUE-Swimmer. ACSM Clinical Case Abstract and Case Presentation. 29 May 2001
  • “Near-Syncope in an Elite, Distance Swimmer.” AMSSM Poster Presentation,. 9 April 2001.

Team / Event Coverage

  • 2005-present – Nashville Ballet, Company Physician
  • 2003-present – Nashville Aquatic Club, Team Physician
  • 2001-present – United States Olympic Team Physician
  • 2001-present – USA Swimming National Team Physician
  • Aug 2010 – USA Swimming Physician, Pan Pacific Championships, Maui
  • Jan 2009 – USA Swimming Physician, Pan Pacific Championships, Guam
  • March 2006 – USA Swimming Physician, FINA World Championships, Shanghai, CHINA
  • July 2005 – USA Swimming Physician, Duel in the Pool, USA vs. Australia, Irvine
  • Oct 2004 – USA Swimming Physician, FINA World Championships, Indianapolis
  • July/Aug 2004 – USA Swimming Physician, 2004 Olympics, Athens, GREECE
  • May 2004 – Event Physician, USA Gymnastics National Championship, Nashville
  • Jan 2004 – USA Swimming Physician, Queensland Championships, Brisbane, AUS
  • June 16-30 2003 – US Olympic Training Center Physician, San Diego, CA
  • 2003-2005 – Lipscomb University Athletics, Head Team Physician
  • April 2003 – Co-Medical Director, Country Music Marathon, Nashville
  • Jan 2003 – USA Swimming Physician, Australian Youth Olympic Festival, Sydney
  • 2001-2003 – Stanford Athletics Team Physician
  • Sept 2002 – Medical Staff, Stanford Cross Country Invitational, Stanford
  • Aug 2002 – USA Swimming Physician, Pan Pacific Championships, Yokohama
  • June 2002 – Medical Staff, USA Track and Field National Championship, Stanford
  • June 2002 – Covering Physician, US Open Track and Field Meet, Stanford
  • May 2002 – Covering Physician, NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship, Stanford
  • August 2001 – Covering Physician, USA Swimming National Championship, Fresno
  • August 2001/2002 – Covering Physician, Vineman Triathlon, Santa Rosa
  • July 2001 – Consultant Physician, Stanford Swimming and Cross-Country Champs
  • June 2001 – Covering Physician, US Open Track and Field Meet, Stanford
  • May 2001 – Covering Physician, NCAA Softball Regional, Stanford
  • April 2001 – Medical Director, Special Olympics Track and Field, Santa Clara
  • March 2001 – Stanford Team Physician, NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships, Long Island, NY
  • Event Physician, USA Swimming National Championships, Austin, TX
  • Feb 2001 – Covering Physician, Sybase Open ATP Tour Event
  • 2000-2001 – Associate Team Physician, San Jose State University
  • Assistant to Team Physician, Stanford University Women’s Swimming
  • December 2000 – Covering Physician, NCAA Women’s Soccer College Cup, San Jose
  • October 2000-2002 – Mass Physicals, Stanford University
  • October 2000 – Medical Director, Silicon Valley Marathon, San Jose, CA
  • April 2000 – WTA Tour, Bausch and Lomb Tennis Tournament, Amelia Island, FL

Invited Lectures/Panels/Boards

  • 2004-2006 – Arthritis Foundation Board of Directors
  • 2003-2004 – Chair, USA Swimming Task Force on Immunity and Illness.
  • May 2003 – USA Swimming Eating Disorders Task Force Panelist, Colorado Springs, CO. Consensus statement published 11/03.
  • September 2002 – ASCA World Clinic Speaker, Las Vegas
    Topics: Swimming Biomechanics and Injury Prevention Infectious Illness in Swimmers
  • April 2002 – USA Swimming Shoulder Injury Task Force Panelist,
    Colorado Springs, CO. Consensus statement published 10/02.

Additional Clinics/Conferences
Attended: (participant/non CME)

  • Annually from 1999 – ASCA World Clinic, USA Swimming Convention / Sports Medicine Committee and Sports Medicine Society Meetings.
  • April 1998 – USA Swimming Coach Mentoring Workshop, Colorado Springs, CO
  • September 1995 – ASCA World Clinic, New Orleans, LA
  • January 1997/2002 – Napa Coaches Clinic, Napa, CA


  • Meharry Family Medicine Teacher of the Year 2009-2010
  • AMA Physicians Recognition Award 2005, 2008, 2011
  • Meharry Family Medicine Faculty Award 2006-2007
  • Fellow, American Academy of Family Physicians 2004-present
  • Kentucky Colonel
  • USA Swimming Sports Medicine Gold Standard Award 2003-2010
  • USA Swimming Sports Medicine High Performance Award 2003-2010
  • Japan-US Senate Scholarship Exchange
  • Kentucky Governor’s Youth Merit Award
  • Outstanding Young Kentuckian 1985
  • Vanderbilt University Dean’s Select Scholarship
  • Lotus Eater’s Honorary
  • Athenians Honorary
  • Omicron Delta Kappa Honorary
  • Mortar Board Honorary
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • USAF Health Profession Scholarship (HPSP)
  • HPSP Indoctrination Physical Fitness Test Award
  • Medical Officer’s Indoctrination “Top Performer”
  • USAF Outstanding Unit Award
  • USAF Training Award
  • USAF Overseas Tour Award
  • USAF Longevity Service Award


  • California Medical License
  • Tennessee Medical License
  • Kentucky Medical License
  • Florida Medical License
  • DEA License
  • American Board of Family Practice Diplomate 2001-2014
  • CAQ in Sports Medicine, 2002-2012
  • American Swimming Coaches Association, Certified Level 4
  • USA Swimming Certified Coach


  • USOC Sports Medicine Society, Elected 2001
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
  • USA Swimming Sports Medicine Society
  • USA Swimming Sports Medicine Committee
  • American Swim Coaches Association


  • Special Olympics Volunteer Swim Coach
  • Arthritis Foundation Board Member 2004-2007
  • USA Swimming Youth Swim Coach

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