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Profiles Football Injury Has a Silver Lining

Back in the late 1980s, Albright’s star quarterback, Michael J. Crovetti ’88 took a rough tackle and ended up in St. Joe’s emergency room with an ankle injury.

While this day may have started under a dark cloud, that cloud had a silver lining.

Crovetti was treated by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Douglas Tase. The surgeon invited the Albright pre-med hopeful to visit him in his office. Soon Tase became a mentor to Crovetti.

“It was amazing,” recalls Crovetti, a native of Cherry Hill, N.J. “Dr. Tase was a great guy. I started going to his office after class, learning about orthopedics. Then he invited me into the operating room. Here I was, a junior in college, and I was able to observe major surgery, including total hip replacement surgery.”

Due to this experience, Crovetti decided to pursue a career as an orthopedic surgeon.

“It’s funny that, to this day, my specialty is hip replacement surgery,” he says.

After graduating from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Crovetti completed an internship, an orthopedic residency, and then a fellowship focused on disorders of the hip, knee and shoulder.

Crovetti, 39, has become a pioneer in minimal-incision hip and knee replacement surgery. He travels across the country and internationally to teach other doctors, as well as to continue his own training. He has also assisted medical companies in developing new surgical instruments.

A resident of Henderson, Nevada, which he describes as the south side of Las Vegas, Crovetti is the founder and CEO of the Bone & Joint Institute of Southern Nevada, where he operates and meets with patients. Many of his patients have had sports injuries; others suffer from arthritis or other diseases.

He has also founded and directs three other medical businesses: Peak Performance Therapy & Fitness Center, which provides rehabilitation services to the public; Nevada Sports Academy, a facility dedicated to improving the performance of amateur and professional athletes; and iPed Solutions, an outlet for medical and consumer education via interactive CD technology. Crovetti employs 42 people, including a team of seven administrative leaders.

In 2004, Crovetti founded a non-profit institute for advanced surgical training, the Medical Education and Research Institute of Nevada (MERIN), located in Henderson. The only bio-skills facility in Nevada, MERIN is the largest surgical training institute in the Western United States. The 18,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility was designed by surgeons, including Crovetti, and features nine surgical suites, including a 50-seat surgical amphitheater with five large screens to ensure visibility for all spectators. MERIN offers training in all types of surgery, not just orthopedic surgery, Crovetti says.

With MERIN drawing surgeons from around the world, Crovetti is receiving credit for putting Vegas on the map as an emerging center of surgical training. And that is exactly what he aims to do.

“Historically, Las Vegas hasn’t favored well, due to a perception that the medical care here is poor, and that there is a doctor shortage here,” says Crovetti. “It is just not true, and we are changing the perception. The Research Institute is accomplishing great things. Any time you have a medical school it raises the bar and draws more specialists to the area.”

Crovetti is passionate about the quality of life in the suburbs of Vegas.

Before deciding where to settle down, he and his wife Karen, a native of Texas, spent a year traveling across the country to find the best location.

“Both of us fell in love with Vegas,” he says. “It is beautiful here, and the weather is awesome. Everything is so close – Phoenix, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Salt Lake City, Colorado – it makes weekends very enjoyable.”

The couple has three children, Brielle, 11, Chelsea, 9, and Mike, 6. Crovetti says he often works from home and spends a lot of time with his family.

“My kids play year-round soccer,” he says. “Because of the weather, all sports are year-round here. I play a lot of golf. We have incredible golf courses here. Neither my wife or I gamble. The only reason we go to The Strip is to eat a great meal or to see a great show.”

What advice does he have for current Albright students traveling the arduous path to becoming physicians? A strong work ethic and networking with colleagues along the way, Crovetti says.

“Absolutely, work as hard as you can,” he says. “Find ways to be better at what you do. It pays its rewards very quickly.”

Crovetti looks forward to seeing the new Gene Shirk Stadium the next time he visits Albright. He stays in touch with some of his football buddies, who called him during a reunion at Albright on Homecoming Weekend.

“My most memorable times at Albright were the days spent on the football field in practice or in games,” he says.

So how is the ankle feeling, after all these years?

“It is a funny thing,” says Crovetti. “That ankle injury still bothers me sometimes. But I played the next week. My attitude is - keep playing. Playing hurt builds character.”

– Francine M. Scoboria

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