Bloomfield Hills resident Robbie Kohen has been a doctor to some of the top athletes in the country, working with the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Giants, the Detroit Tigers, the University of Michigan, The U.S. Open Tennis Tournament and others. Today, the Andover High School alumnus has settled into private practice, but still volunteers with teams in Bloomfield Hills and other area schools.
"I enjoyed playing sports as a kid," Kohen said, who graduated from Andover in 1997. "Those are some of my best memories at high school. I played baseball and hockey, and that was a highlight of my childhood."
Kohen attended University of Michigan and was a walk-on player for the hockey team. It was also where he attended medical school, graduating first in his class.
"My father was a physician. I was interested in medicine since I was a kid, so I was drawn to sports medicine," he said. "With my experience, it was a natural fit. And it's been good. I like to get people back to the thing that they like to do."
Specializing in orthopedic surgery, has worked with several professional and collegiate teams, including the New York Giants, New York Liberty, Detroit Lions, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers. He also has worked with the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament; University of Michigan's gymnastics, softball, baseball, lacrosse and football teams; and the Eastern Michigan University football team on game days.
"I have had a chance to work with several pro sports teams... I gave that up mostly because of family obligations. It's fun traveling on a team plane and taking care of injuries, but with two baby girls at home, it was a lot," he said. "I still do some professional team coverage from time to time, and I volunteer at Bloomfield Hills games. It's fun to take care of those kids, and it's fun to give back."
To stay closer to home, Kohen opened a private practice about six years ago with offices in Farmington Hills and Madison Heights. The biggest differences in patients, he said, is age.
"There are different problems at different ages," he said. "An adolescent with growth plates may have a certain kind of fracture, where a professional may have something more degenerative. You also have high-level athletes who never get injured throughout their whole career, and then have a spill in their backyard, and they end up in my office."
In terms of high school athletics, Kohen said schools are doing a much better job than in the past to limit pitch counts and having kids refrain from throwing curveballs until they've reached their peak growth. As people age, they receive injuries from everyday activities or even sleeping incorrectly.
"They are really limiting kids to pitch counts and how many days rest they have between games. That's a big change from when I was a kid," he said. "When you throw a ball, it has more to do with harnessing power in the abdomen and core, like swinging a golf club, and using that to throw a ball."
Easing into athletics is the same for older adults looking to get back into shape or trying to lose weight.
"You have to start slow and have supervision, if possible," he said. "Going from the couch to running a marathon is asking for a stress fracture."
Photo: Laurie Tennent