We were fortunate to sit down with Eddie George, who graciously shared his experience working with Dr. Burton Elrod - one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Nashville, TN. Keep reading to learn more about Eddie's struggles with knee pain and other joint pain, along with some fun stories from his past.
Why Did You Seek Care from an Orthopedic Surgeon?
Dr. Elrod was still working in professional football at the time. He started this new practice and a rehab center that could help get me back on track. That is how I became a patient of Elite Sports Medicine and one of the first people to come here to MPower Physical Therapy for rehab. The teams here do an amazing job!
How Would You Describe Your Relationship with Dr. Elrod?
He has been more of a close friend than anything else. I could confide in Dr. Elrod with anything. He is very concerned with my kids and what they are doing and vice versa, so he's watched me grow up over the years. He has been more of a friend than my doctor or a guy that scopes my knees and wants to give me a knee replacement.
I suspect that is the sort of care that comes natural to someone like him.
In What Ways Did Dr. Elrod Look After You While You Were a Professional Athlete?
Dr. Elrod first and foremost never pushed us to go back on the football field for the team’s sake. It was always for the best interest of the athlete and quality of life after football. He’s one of the rare few that looked after the person versus just a player.
Is There Any Advice You Give Younger Athletes for Taking Care of Their Body?
You have to invest in your body, in the right training, and the best recovery methods. What you put into your body, is all what you are going to get out of it. You must find efficiency in terms of your workouts as you get older so that you can maintain your bones and reduce knee pain and other joint pain. All those things, I think, can help an athlete with the longevity of their career.
Speaking of Professional Football, Let’s Focus on Your Former Position. How Has the Running Back Role Changed over the Years?
I would say it’s no longer the focal point of the offense anymore. You still have to have a running game, but putting the load and the responsibility on one guy is not there anymore.
I came from the era where it was one guy got the bulk of the carriages. It was Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Jerome Bettis, Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Curtis Martin, I mean the list goes on and on. If you didn't have a bell cow running back, then you weren't competing for a championship.
In 2004, There Was a Playoff Game in Baltimore Where You Dislocated Your Shoulder in the First Half. You Came Back in the Second Half with a Shoulder Sling and Went on to Rush for 88 Yards to Finish the Game, Which Led to a Playoff Win. What Happened in the Locker Room at Halftime with Dr. Elrod?
I could not leave that stadium and that game with this sling on my shoulder and that was it. I was upset, and Dr. Elrod calmed me down.
He put a harness on it and asked me, "Can you bear the shoulder pain?". I walked around, pacing back and forth, thinking about what I wanted to do. In that moment if you say, ‘I am going to shut it down,’ that is it - they take you off the field. I said let’s strap this -CENSORED- up, and let’s go!
According to Dr. Elrod, There Was a Game Where You Said Your Toe Was “Torn up Forever.” What Ended up Being the Diagnosis for Your Toe Pain?
I usually wear soccer style cleats with molded bottoms, but this game was wet and there was a lot of snow on the ground, so I had to go with screw-in cleats. I really could not feel the stability in my foot, and I thought my toe was giving me problems, but apparently one of the cleats was just missing! That was actually a really funny story that I still hear about to this day.
Another Memory Dr. Elrod Mentioned Was When You Were a Kid in Philly You Used to Sell Hot Chocolate in the Old Eagles Stadium. What Happened to the Woman in a White Mink Coat?
These guys asked me to come up to get hot chocolate. Back then, Ghostbusters was the movie that was out. We had these Ghostbuster backpacks on with hot chocolate and sleeves of cups on the side, so we pulled out our hot chocolate maker and started making hot chocolate.
A young woman and a gentleman asked me for hot chocolate; the woman had this beautiful white mink coat on. I pulled up to do my thing and tried to press it, nothing came out. So, I shake it up, hit the button, and bang; it splattered everywhere.
I had maybe 50 dollars in my pocket, and I am thinking this is going to be a very expensive bill. I looked at him, and he looked at me, and I just ran down the stairs and never came back!
That’s Hilarious! Let’s Take it Back to Your Experience with Dr. Elrod as Your Orthopedic Surgeon. What Surgeries Have You Had, and What Did Your Recovery Look Like?
I had my right shoulder and left shoulder done, my left knee, my right knee twice, and both ankles. I’ve suffered from a great deal of knee pain, shoulder pain, and just general joint pain over the years. I have always come out better after surgery with Dr. Elrod.
Sometimes I do not like what he has to say about my body and where it’s going, but I know that he has my best interest at heart. He is like, ‘Hey, you may need to think about getting x, y, and z in the future, but here are some alternatives that we can do to help ease the pain and think about the pain management.’
I have been swimming a lot more lately and playing golf, and my knee has just been coming around beautifully since his recommendations and surgery.
We Talked Earlier about Your Relationship with Dr. Elrod as an Athlete, but What is Your Relationship Like with Him Today?
Dr. Elrod, man, that dude is my number one. There isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do for him, that’s the God-honest truth. The secondary part of that is he is there for both me and my wife, as she’s dealt with torn ACLs of her own. He has done surgery on anybody that has asked me about the best orthopedic surgeon in Nashville for scopes and knees. I always tell them about Dr. Elrod.
Right Now, You Are Receiving Physical Therapy in Franklin, TN at MPower Performance Institute – Elite’s Sister Company. Can You Tell Us What It’s Been Like Working with MPower's Physical Therapists?
I'm here at MPower to do rehab on my knee. I was experiencing knee pain and had it scoped in March. It has been a process, but the people there are very knowledgeable.
I have been beating myself up because I am not recovering as fast as I’d like to be. It is a slow process, and they are being very patient with me: doing different exercises, building up my confidence, and giving strength to my knee.
How Is MPower Helping You Manage the Toll of Being a Professional Running Back?
They give me different exercises that I can do for my entire body. For the shoulder pain, we’ve done different treatment methods like dry needling, ice baths, massages, stretching, and things that I can do on my own to help prevent that pain.
Also, lifestyle changes in my diet: pulling out the sweets and the carbs helps your joints lower inflammation. The MPOWER physical therapy team does an exceptional job for the holistic approach versus just the body.
Have You Seen Progression from Your Time with Elite and MPower Physical Therapy?
I feel better 1000%. It has been phenomenal working with both Elite and MPower. They have helped me get back to living a better than normal quality of life, and it has been fantastic. I did not think I was going to be where I’m at now three months ago, and I’m well beyond that so I’m very happy with the results.
Would You Recommend Elite and MPower to Other Athletes?
I have been and I continue to share Elite and MPower to athletes. Even if they did not have surgeries, I think MPOWER is useful for different training methods to build strength, stability, agility, and to improve your overall game.
Needless to say, Eddie George is a legend here in Tennessee. We greatly appreciated the opportunity Eddie provided us to sit down and learn more about his experiences working with Elite’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Burton Elrod, and MPower Physical Therapy in Franklin, TN.
If you’d like to experience the same great orthopedic care given to Eddie George, we have great news. At Elite, we take pride in treating every patient like a VIP. Come see us if you need consultation from an orthopedic surgeon in Nashville, TN or Franklin, TN.
If you are suffering from joint pain and are outside of our area, we recommend speaking with an orthopedic surgeon near you if your pain persists.