John V. Puig II, M.D., continues to contribute to sports medicine
March 30, 2017
It took 19 years of studying for John V Puig, II M.D., to become a family medicine physician that specializes in sports medicine.
Sports medicine deals with physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of injuries in sports related activities.
Although Puig has been a sports medicine doctor for a long period of time, he continues to set goals for future preferences, he explained during an interview in his office.
“My main goal is to treat patients with respect and kindness and treat people like I’d like to get treated. I want to help people get better and so my main goal and a reason why I did this in life is I love sports, and I like seeing people get better,” Puig said.
Puig was involved in an accident that drove him to become interested in medicine as a teen.
“When I was 17, I had an accident where I had two of my finger partially amputated. During that time period, I underwent the care of an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Galo. I was able to spend time with him and I realized that I wanted to do medicine at that time. That’s what started the process of me wanting to do medicine,” Puig said.
As a former student at United High School, he has been able to fulfill his plans of returning to practice medicine in Laredo after earning his degree elsewhere.
“I am most proud of getting to where I am, and getting back to Laredo. Of actually getting through medical school, going through my fellowship, and getting back to help Laredo the way I’d always decided I wanted to do,” Puig said.
An advantage of being involved in medicine for 19 years is he has been able to observe overall changes.
“The advances in overall treatment of chronic diseases and how we go about working on helping people get better. As the population is getting older, we are learning that there is a lot of things that we could do to improve the longevity of people being participatory in sports related activities. The other change that we are seeing is the change in safety and concerns on how we treat things like concussions and overuse injuries more at the high school level,” Puig said.
Before leaving Laredo, Puig finished his 4 years of high school and completed a 4-year undergrad program at Norte Dame and graduated with a degree in pre-professional studies. Then Puig spent 3 years working as a chemist while attending UTSA part-time. After this, he attended medical school for 4 years and participated in a 3-year residency. Puig spend a year of specific sports medicine training before beginning his career.
One thing that has not changed over time is the way Puig feels after being able to help treat a patient that is in need of recovery. He said his career gives him a very “rewarding” and “satisfying” feeling being able to make a difference in a patient that is in pain and comes to him for help.
“A lot of times, a doctor can become a little turned off because you treat someone with a chronic disease and they don’t help themselves and they never get better and you start to feel like you’re spinning your wheels. In my profession, people will come in and they’re hurt and you do things for them to help them get better and they get better. It’s very satisfying to see somebody come in whether it’s a broken bone, a sprain, or another injury to a ligament and so it is very rewarding,” Puig said.
“It is very rewarding when somebody comes in and they’re hurt and you’re able to use your mind and use your skills to get them better, getting them feeling happy again,” Puig added.
There is a challenge that Puig has faced multiple times within his career that he cannot change.
“Patients that don’t want to do what I ask them to do. Often times there’s a lot of challenging aspects to overcoming what Dr. Google tells people to do, “Puig said.
“There are problems that I run into that you simply can’t fix. It becomes disheartening for me because I want these people to get better. I feel like I failed but no matter what I do, I can’t get them better, that’s the most challenging part, is getting through that, “Puig added.
In the future, Puig plans to continue practicing sports medicine in Laredo.
“In 10 years, I continue to see myself in Laredo doing exactly what I’m doing with more people around me to help. Continuing to see orthopedic and sports medicine care expand to the level of what we see in San Antonio,” Puig said.