Dr. McDermott tests for shoulder injuries with a female patient

Sports Medicine: It’s not just for athletes

The phrase “sports medicine” often invokes images of top-flight athletes getting checked out on the sidelines after an injury. But for one sports medicine physician, it also means caring for the 80-year-old woman who became his favorite patient success story.

James D. McDermott, MD, Spartanburg Regional’s newest sports medicine doctor, remembers helping the octogenarian avoid surgery and get back to her life.

An 80-year-old woman had suffered an injury to her shoulder. She visited several doctors who could not help her and was feeling quite discouraged. And then she paid Dr. McDermott a visit.

“We got her involved in a more active and aggressive physical therapy program,” Dr. McDermott said. “We just sat down and explained the options to her, which was all she really needed. We found a way to treat her shoulder with gentle reassurance and non-surgical interventions.” 

Today she’s doing well and gives him a hug every time she sees him. 

Like this patient, Dr. McDermott works with patients of all ages and athletic ability.

“Whether you’re a college athlete, competing professionally or simply a weekend warrior – there’s usually an activity someone wants to get back to as quickly as possible following an injury,” said James D. McDermott, MD. “And that’s where a good sports medicine physician can help.”

Sports medicine doctors can be either orthopaedic surgeons or primary care physicians. They often complete a sports medicine fellowship, learning more about musculoskeletal injuries and the surgeries their patients may need in order to recover from more severe injuries. 

“About 60 percent of my practice is shoulder treatments,” Dr. McDermott said. “I do quite a few shoulder replacements, which are an option if there’s an injury in a shoulder that hasn’t gone away after resting, icing and taking anti-inflammatory drugs, or if you’re experiencing ongoing pain and mobility issues.”  

The shoulder is among the most mobile and flexible joints in the body – but it’s also the least stable. Due to the wide range of motion necessary in an average day, the shoulder is susceptible to injury or dislocation. Repetitive use or activities that involve lifting, throwing or hitting can cause shoulder injuries such as inflamed joints or torn ligaments that might require further interventions beyond physical therapy.

Dr. McDermotts also treats a large number of our local collegiate athletes. You can see him on the sidelines for teams from Wofford College, University of South Carolina—Upstate and Spartanburg Methodist College.

Whether you’re an athlete or an amateur, sports medicine might be right for you. If you’re interested in making an appointment with Dr. McDermott or learning more about available sports medicine treatments, visit

About Dr. McDermott:

He graduated from Jefferson Medical College and then went on to complete an Orthopaedic Surgery Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of Texas in Houston, where he focused on the shoulder. He is one of the few physicians in the region who specialize in the shoulder and shoulder replacements.

Where can you find Dr. McDermott? 

Sports medicine specialists can help diagnose and treat a variety of conditions to allow for better movement and to alleviate painful injuries.  

Practice Location

Medical Group of the Carolinas Sports Medicine Institute – Upward Star Center

9768 Warren H. Abernathy Highway, Suite B

Spartanburg, SC 29301

Telephone: 864-560-2663