Alumni save tournament from a knock-out punch

boxing_glovesIf it hadn’t been for two DMU alumni, some collegiate boxers might have been mad enough to punch somebody.

In March, Iowa State University (ISU) was set to host the Midwest regional tournament of the National Collegiate Boxing Association when ISU Boxing Club Coach Jon Swanson realized he had a big problem: A communication snafu meant no physicians had signed on as ring doctors for the event; with no doctors, there could be no event.

“Without this tournament, the students from all these schools wouldn’t be able to go on to the national tournament,” Swanson says. “It was looking to be a disastrous situation.”

Fortunately, he contacted Ronnette Vondrak, DMU’s director of alumni relations, who then contacted Bernard Feldman, D.O.’80, a member of the DMU Board of Trustees who practices with Mercy Gastroenterology Clinic in Clive, IA, and Mollie James, D.O.’03, M.P.H., with Mercy Clinic Intensivists in Joplin, MO.

“Those DMU doctors saved the tournament,” Swanson says.

They also “had a blast,” Feldman says. They monitored five bouts on March 13, watching male and female competitors from institutions including ISU, the University of North Carolina, West Virginia University and the U.S. Naval Academy.

“It’s fun. Everybody treats you wonderfully,” says Feldman. He first served as a ring doctor as a third-year DMU student, when a doctor at the clinic he was rotating at — then a physician for the Iowa Golden Gloves— invited him to do so.

Feldman says serving as a tournament physician isn’t a burden, as the competitors’ protective gear and short rounds minimize injuries. So does the fact they’re in “incredible shape.”

“I was glad I was ringside and not in the ring,” he quips.

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