Rick Bowles, MD
Dr. Rick Bowles was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, the oldest of three brothers. He attended twelve years of Catholic school. Always interested in athletics, he played soccer, was a wrestler, and competed in powerlifting. After high school he was accepted into the US Naval Academy, where he hoped to play on the soccer team before suffering an unfortunate injury. He decided at that point to make a change in his career path and was accepted at the University of Louisville on an academic scholarship. He graduated with honors and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
During his time at the University of Louisville, at 20 years old, Dr. Bowles was involved in a serious car accident: his car slid off the road in icy conditions and hit a tree traveling at 60 mph. He sustained significant orthopedic injuries and was flown to the nearest trauma hospital. After several surgeries he eventually recovered completely; it was this accident, however, that sparked his interest in medicine.
Dr. Bowles went on to work as an engineer at two Fortune 100 companies: General Electric and UPS. At GE in Boston he worked primarily on control systems design for military jet engines. With an interest in aviation he also got his pilot’s license and instrument rating. Dr. Bowles eventually left GE for UPSand worked as a supervisor in the aircraftdivision.
Throughout his career in engineering, however, he wondered if he might be able to work in a field where he could make a dramatic impact on the lives of others. “I wanted to contribute to society and have the opportunity to do something that would make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Dr. Bowles. “I enjoy fixing and building things, and a career in orthopedic medicine would give me the opportunity to do that–to get people back to a place where they could do all the things that make them who they are.”
In 2006, during the height of his engineering career, Dr. Bowles began his journey towards orthopedic surgery, taking night classes to finish the pre-requisites necessary to apply to medical school. Once finished he attended the University of Louisville School of Medicine, where he earned his MD and was the class president for three years. From there he went on to a Harvard general surgery internship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Colorado, where he handled a high volume of complicated Level I orthopedic trauma at Denver Health. After finishing residency, he landed at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, where he completed his fellowship in sports medicine and served as assistant team physician for the Cleveland Indians (at both the minor and major league levels), the Cleveland Cavaliers, and John Carroll University, treating both amateur and professional athletes alike.
“I knew I wanted to specialize in sports medicine early,” said Dr. Bowles. “Athletics are an important part of my life, and I know that for athletes, being able to participate in their sport is a significant part of their identities. I am passionate about helping people get back to the activities they love.”
“My car accident helped me to understand things form a patient’s perspective–the pain one experiences and the road to recovery. I have a first-hand appreciation of how a life-changing experience affects someone–not knowing if you would be able to recover and return to life as you know it.”
Dr. Bowles is fellowship-trained in sports medicine and also experienced in orthopedic trauma. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and is American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) board-eligible. He treats many different orthopedic injuries both non-surgically and surgically, performing the latest surgical techniques, including:
- Shoulder: arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, arthroscopic labral repair, arthroscopic and open shoulder instability surgery
- Elbow: biceps tendon repair, triceps tendon repair, arthroscopic elbow surgery
- Hip: arthroscopic labral repair, arthroscopic treatment of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), hamstring tendon repair
- Knee: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, other knee ligament repair/reconstruction, arthroscopic meniscus surgery, meniscus repair, cartilage repair procedures, patellofemoral instability surgery, patellar tendon repair, quadriceps tendon repair, total knee replacement
- Ankle: arthroscopic ankle surgery, Achilles tendon repairs
- Trauma: treatment of upper and lower extremity fractures, including clavicle, humerus, forearm, wrist, hip, femur, patella, tibia, and ankle fractures
When he is not working, Dr. Bowles loves living an active life including rock climbing/mountaineering, skiing, and snowboarding. He also enjoys trying his hand at brewing craft beer or playing the guitar. He enjoys going on adventures and traveling the world, but his priority is always spending time with family and friends.