Kimberly Kaiser, MD, is an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine and family and community medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. She is also one of the physicians who provides care for the UK women’s basketball team. In the following Q&A, she shares more about her clinical expertise, her passion for sports medicine, and why her experience with UK Athletics has been so rewarding.

Q: As a team physician, what are your roles with the basketball team?

A: As team physician, I oversee the entire health of the athlete diagnosing and managing everything from upper respiratory infections to significant knee injuries. We also coordinate care when needed with other medical specialists such as cardiologists or endocrinologists. We work closely with the team's athletic trainer and other members of the multidisciplinary sports medicine team including the strength staff, sports dietician, physical therapists, and sports psychologist to provide the best comprehensive care possible. 

Q: What does a typical day with the team look like?

A: Athletes check in daily with their athletic trainer who assesses their needs and relays important information to the physician. The student athletes attend lifts, practice, and class during the day while the physician is working in his or her own orthopedic clinic at UK HealthCare's sports medicine clinic. Some things can be managed by phone while others that are more acute or urgent are seen directly in the training room in the evening. For women's basketball, the team physicians also attend and provide sideline management for all home games and tournaments such as the SEC and NCAA tournaments. 

Q: How did you get involved with UK Athletics?

A: Being a team physician was part of my chosen career path as a sports medicine physician. As I finished residency and fellowship training, I knew being a collegiate team physician was what was most rewarding and important to me in pursuing jobs in addition to working in a traditional sports medicine clinic. UK Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine was the perfect blend of that, and I feel blessed to work with one of the best sports medicine teams around. 

Q: What is your favorite part of working in this role?

A: My favorite aspect of being a team physician is establishing relationships with the student athletes and seeing them reach their full potential both in athletic competition and in the game of life. Some of them you get to know well from seeing them in training room for frequent injuries, and others you get to know more from their outgoing personalities on the sidelines. Regardless, seeing what they achieve, having the opportunity to be a small part of their journey, and hopefully inspiring them along the way makes all the time dedicated and hard work worth it.

Q: What have you learned from this experience?

A: Everyone working in collegiate athletics is passionate about their job. From the student athletes and coaches to the event, facilities, and ticketing staff to media to the sports medicine team and everyone in between, it takes a huge amount of passion, dedication and hard work to pull off a single sports season. While winning national or SEC championships is the cherry on top, we do what we do for the people we work with and to help others succeed.