5 Questions with Jim Borchers: Team Doc of the National Champion Buckeyes!

jim borchers

A VERY happy crew: Jim Borchers (center), Bob Sweeney (L) & Doug Calland (R) in Arlington, TX after the National Championship game.

Followers of this blog know that I live in Columbus, Ohio.

And most of you know what that would mean for life here the last two weeks.

Unless you are overseas and/or pay no attention to American college football–which is true for some of our readers–I don’t need to tell you that Columbus is home to the reigning, undisputed National Champions of NCAA Division 1 football:  the Ohio State University beat Oregon decisively in the game on January 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, 42 – 20.

The medical staff of that team is a group of clinicians whom I know well.  I have great admiration for the clinical and scholarly work they do.

In the aftermath of the game, I reached out to my friend, Jim Borchers, M.D., M.P.H. and asked him if would have time to share some of his thoughts on the game, the season, and a variety of other topics.  I am happy to say he said yes.

Jim is an example of that clinical and scholarly excellence I just wrote of. He is the Director of the Division of Sports Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine at OSU. He is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship there, as well.  And besides being the team physician for the football team, he takes care of men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, and lacrosse as well.

I’m happy to say he still, somehow, finds time to help out with the journal.

Now, without further adieu, here is our conversation with Dr. Borchers.


1) CJSM: I understand you were both a player for the Buckeyes when you were in college and now are one of the team physicians for the new, National Champs. Can you describe what different thoughts and emotions you have as a player for an elite team vs. those you have as a team physician.

JB: I was very fortunate to play football at Ohio State from 1989-1993.  As a player during that period, we were working very hard to try to get Ohio State back to the top of the Big 10 conference.  During my playing days, I was like my other teammates – focused on winning and performing to the best of our abilities.  During those years I experienced some great wins and some tough losses and certainly appreciated how important football was to all of the fans and alumni of Ohio State.  As a player, I always wanted to be on a championship team – one that would be remembered at Ohio State.  My senior year we were Co-champions of the Big 10 conference and finished 10-1-1 and in the top 10 in the country.  At a recent 20 year reunion honoring that team, I was reminded of how fortunate we were as a team to compete at Ohio State.

My role as a team physician is much different from what it was as a player.  As all team physicians know, my responsibility is for the health, safety and welfare of the student athletes and to help them be able to compete.  Although I still enjoy the games and competition, I approach my role with a different perspective than when I was playing – but I believe the fact that I did play helps me relate to the players and the medical issues they face.  I feel very fortunate that I have been able to combine my passion for sports and medicine in my career and I am extremely fortunate that I am able to do this at my alma mater.

2) CJSM: You have previously served as an Associate Editor for CJSM . What were your fondest memories of that position?  What were the challenges?

JB: I was the associate editor for the Thematic Issue from 2010-2012.  I was very fortunate to have guidance and mentorship from Dr. Tom Best who preceded me in this role.  I was very proud of the editions we published during that time and very much enjoyed working with amazing and talented authors from around the world in accomplishing these issues.  This role did require a lot of time and commitment and the most challenging feature was meeting deadlines and getting submissions completed and edited on time.  I am amazed at how much effort it takes to get work like this completed and admire those that take on these positions.

3) CJSM: I see you got your MPH from OSU in 2008, several years after completing your M.D. I did the same (got my MPH from OSU in 2013).  What ‘value added’ has the MPH brought to your professional life?

JB: Completing my MPH with an emphasis in Clinical Investigations has added tremendous value to my career.  It has allowed me to add a focus to my teaching in our fellowship that explores the mechanics of study design and methodology in Sports Medicine.  It has also allowed me to have some success in research and collaboration with other very talented Sports Medicine researchers.  My MPH training has allowed me to answer clinical questions I have encountered in my clinical practice and it is very gratifying to find answers to the questions that come up in clinical practice.   I have had some great opportunities with respect to writing, editing and presentations that I am not sure I would have had without my completion of my MPH.  I will admit it was not easy to complete my MPH while working but it has added tremendous value to my career.

4) CJSM: If you had to compose a 140 character (or less) tweet about the Buckeyes prospect for repeating as National Champions, what would it say?

JB: 2014 National Championship – Hard; 2015 Repeat – Harder; Go Bucks!

(CJSM: Dr. Borchers, you have a talent for social media! Have you been learning the trade from your young players?)

 5) CJSM: You have authored several publications in CJSM, among other journals. What are your current research interests?  Any projects with ‘irons in the fire’ that you would care to comment on?

JB: One of the great benefits of working at Ohio State is the amazing colleagues I get to work with every day.  We are currently very interested in injury prediction and prevention and understanding how to predict and decrease risk of injury in athletes.  I am excited to be part of a team at Ohio State that is examining these issues where we are examining biomechanical profiles of athletes and how this can be used to predict and ultimately prevent injury.


Following up on Dr. Borchers’ answer to that last question, readers of the blog may want to visit our post on Tim Hewett’s work in ACL injury prevention.  Dr. Hewett is also from OSU and has published extensively in CJSM.

And….lest any of my readers think I’m showing favoritism to the home team, let me remind them of our 5 questions interview with Dr. Bruce Miller, the team doc for that ‘other’ Big 10 team.  You know the one: maize and blue, coached by Jim Harbaugh and hosting the national champions in Ann Arbor in 2015.  That is going to be a good game.

And no matter who wins, I know the players will be in the hands of excellent sports medical teams. Thanks again Jim for taking time from your busy schedule to share your thoughts with us. Enjoy the off-season!

About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Deputy Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

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