Dr. Mathews, a man for all (sports) seasons

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Monty Mathews, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine, is on duty. He’s not wearing a white coat. He’s not wearing scrubs. He’s wearing a baseball cap, emblazoned with a Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks “O.”

The doc is on duty on a soccer sideline, Caniglia Field, on the UNO campus. He stands with trainers, with coaches, with players (the subs), looking out onto the field. On the green faux-grass, Division I college soccer is being played, bodies slamming, tendons straining, lungs screaming. Mastodons vs. Mavs.

In soccer, players often go down, and go down hard.

In soccer, players often go down, and go down hard.

A young boy, wearing a Jr. Mavericks soccer jersey, also was there on the sideline as a special treat. “I didn’t know sports teams had doctors,” the boy said.

As long as Dr. Mathews has anything to say about it, they do.

And he spends a good deal of his free time making sure that they do.

“It’s my passion,” he said. “My hobby.” His real job is here at UNMC, but this is how he spends his weekends and nights.

And thanks to the season we’re in, his volunteer workload is heavy on UNO men’s and women’s basketball and hockey.

But Dr. Mathews is also the team doctor for the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers baseball team. When they won the pennant, “I was out there when they were squirting the champagne,” Dr. Mathews said.

Dr. Mathews, along with a comprehensive med center team, worked the NORECA continental volleyball championship in Omaha.

Dr. Mathews, along with a comprehensive med center team, worked the NORECA volleyball championship in Omaha.

And when the minor-league football Omaha Nighthawks were in business, he was on their sideline, too.

He’s worked marathons and rodeos. He’s at every Brownell-Talbot football game.

These days, more and more sports teams are entering into partnership relationships with orthopedic clinics, and that makes sense. A good deal of sports medicine is knees and shoulders, ligaments and bones.

But then, a good deal of it isn’t. And it also makes sense to have a good old-fashioned primary care, family medicine doc there, too.

That’s why Dr. Mathews keeps showing up.

For instance, all this talk about concussions? “I feel very comfortable evaluating head injuries,” he said. Not every M.D. does.

He’s undergone special training to become a Credentialed ImPACT Consultant (CIC).

Dr. Mathews is not the only practitioner at the med center doing sports medicine. There’s a whole team, headed by athletic trainer Rusty McKune, The Nebraska Medical Center’s sports medicine program coordinator. And providers from UNMC, TNMC and UNMC Physicians have staffed national athletic events in Omaha, like the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the USA Swimming Olympic Trials and the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Continental volleyball championship.

Dr. Mathews works closely with other practitioners, like UNO men's soccer trainer Philip Dennie (in black coat).

Dr. Mathews works closely with other practitioners, like UNO men’s soccer trainer Philip Dennie (in black coat).

They all work together, the way Dr. Mathews works with athletic trainers and orthopedic docs.

The Mavericks have a great training staff, in this case, Phil Dennie. Dennie and his fellow trainers could easily handle 95 percent of what might come up during the game. But that five percent left over?

“I can handle 90 percent of that,” Dr. Mathews said.

Meaning, he could initially evaluate, diagnose and treat nine out of 10 of the injuries the training staff would ask him to look at. Beyond that, he would ask for assistance from emergency personnel or other specialists if athletes needed to be transported to the hospital for central nervous system, spine, major bleeding or complex orthopedic injuries.

Luckily, at the soccer game, none of it comes up.

If you're at a sporting event in Omaha, there's a chance Dr. Mathews is there, too.

If you’re at a sporting event in Omaha, there’s a chance Dr. Mathews is there, too.

But it wasn’t his only appointment of the night. He also was set to be the team doc at the Mavericks’ hockey game down at CenturyLink Center. Would he have to hurry?

Doctors know better than to hurry.

“I’ll have to be efficient about it,” was the way he put it. And he was. After it was over, after the Mavericks had won 4-0, Dr. Mathews double checked with the training staff, to make sure there wasn’t anyone he needed to look at. Then he did the same with the visiting team. And then he was gone. Off to his next sideline. Off to make sure another sports team had a doctor in the house.

B&F is going to pump(kin) you up!

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Look at the Jack-o-lantern above. Spooky and brand-compliant! The world’s scariest walrus.

We bring you this picture, and others, because Business and Finance recently held a pumpkin-carving contest. No, scratch that. Business and Finance held a PUMPKIN CARVING CONTEST. This was not your average Halloween contest. This wasn’t just a zigzag smile in an orange gourd. These people really went all-out.

Consider a few of the contenders …

Imagine you thought you'd entered a pumpkin-carving contest, and found out you were going up against THIS.

Imagine you thought you’d entered a pumpkin-carving contest, and found out you were going up against THIS. That’s not a pumpkin carving, that’s performance art. Now, look at this one:

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Your call is important to us.

pumpkin yoga cats

Cats doing yoga. Yes — cats doing yoga. Now you know this contest just got serious.

How about this one — any Michael Keaton-themed pumpkin is OK with me:

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If only there had been a “Night Shift” pumpkin.

Hold on, it’s getting a little spooky. I think I’ll call security.


Or maybe this is a job for a true superhero — Pumpkin Kenny Bell.

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Apparently Pumpkin Kenny prefers a 2 p.m. kickoff.

And these are just a few of the crazy-good pumpkins created by the good folks at Business and Finance. There were many more.

So, who won? Well, Cassandra Recek from Facilities Management and Planning won the “individual” title for this one, below (in addition to the raven, there were some cool bats on the back):

pumpkin raven

And, as you can tell below, the “group” winner was a true group effort. It seems the whole team from fifth floor, Business Services, made an appearance (click on the photo for a larger version):

BF Floor 5 Pumkin

Have a spooky night. Happy Halloween!

Dan Brick lays the foundation for realistic simulation

Dan Brick gives himself a hand.

Dan Brick gives himself a hand.

First things first.

We’re not talking about a real baby.

Let’s make that clear right away, because it looks like a real baby.

And those are not real wounds.

That’s good, because they look like real wounds. They look like a horrible dog bite. They look so realistic that medical students have turned away.

But no dog put these fake wounds on this not-real baby.

Dan Brick did.

No, Brick is not a werewolf. He’s the standardized patient coordinator in the College of Medicine’s simulation lab, and the “dog bites” on this simulated baby are the product of hours of hard work — not one second of which required fangs.

brick2Brick’s work, formally known as moulage and with a long history in medical education, helps UNMC students learn to deal with the horrific sights they may be required to face as medical professionals.

Brick has experience on both sides of simulation. As a Boy Scout, he took part in a mass casualty training – a simulated plane crash — with an emergency room.

“We showed up in the morning, and they made us up with everything from bruises to cuts and scars,” he said. “And then we were supposed to be brought in screaming and hollering about being in pain.”

Despite his early experience, Brick didn’t become interested in moulage until, as a medical educator, he was trying to create the most realistic simulations possible. Many simulation conferences have a moulage workshop or breakout session, and Brick has been to several to refine his technique.

“Even though you go to workshops to pick up new techniques, a lot of it is trial and error,” he said. “And the place you always start with is a picture. If you just Google a gunshot wound, or any kind of wound or burn or dog bite, you can access a bunch of different pictures. So you find out that looks like what your case is about, and you print it out. That’s a really good place to start.

“With moulage, we can create a realistic environment, and that’s the whole point of the simulation lab,” he said.

brick3Brick doesn’t rely totally on makeup. He also has a set of intricate prosthetics which can be attached to people or simulators – feet with broken bones jutting out, burns and scars, and even deep wounds surreptitiously lined with tubes so simulated blood can spurt out.

“If you make a wound up ahead of time and put a lot of blood on it, it’ll drip and dry,” Brick said. “With this, you can pump fresh ‘blood’ into it – it just adds to the realism.”

But when the pre-made prosthetics aren’t enough, Brick’s skills are invaluable. With the baby’s dog bite, for example, instructors specifically requested a wound across the face and neck.

This is the second year he’s created the dog bite, which he considers among his best work, along with an elaborate burn makeup he created earlier this year. A coating of “casualty wax” to simulate swelling, a few swipes with a wooden stick for the teeth marks and red coloring – the whole process takes perhaps two hours.

(Other items in Brick’s moulage set: powdered “blood,” Cover Girl makeup, Vaseline, cold cream and specialty “bruise” blush in varying shades of red, purple and green.)

But if those ingredients sound simple, the effect can be powerful — even among medical students.

“There were some people last year that came in, took one look and turned around, even though it’s all just wax and makeup,” he said. “They really can’t separate it.

“And I’ve had students look at it and say, ‘Oh, that’s horrible, I could never deal with that.’

“And I say, ‘You’re going into medicine … From time to time, you’re going to see blood.’”