The Joy of the Patient-Provider Connection

Approximately 11 years ago when I was a collegiate softball player, a 10-year-old athlete from a neighboring small town called me. In her then-high-pitched excited voice she wanted to interview me about what it was like to be a collegiate catcher. She had been given the assignment by her youth coach for inspiration to play the game in college (kudos, Coach!).

Fast-forward 11 years: That young athlete suffered an injury as a collegiate catcher—and she finds ME to be her surgeon! Imagine my surprise at her postoperative appointment when she shared the connection with me. My heart practically burst. There is something special about treating patients in my home state. It’s also special that I was a small part of this young woman’s decision to pursue collegiate softball. Now I am part of getting her back on the field! Can’t wait to catch a game next spring!

Shown above with her collegiate patient, Madisyn Kelley, Kelsey Millonig is a podiatric physician with East Village Foot and Ankle Surgeons in Des Moines. She graduated summa cum laude from Luther College in 2012 after a standout collegiate softball career. That year she was a national finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. She was inducted into Luther’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2022. She initially shared this patient experience and photo, with Kelley’s permission, on Instagram.

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