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June 11, 2012

Glenn Perry -- an MVP team doctor

Let me tell you a story about Dr. Glenn Perry:

               This was so long ago it was inconceivable the Hornets would leave Charlotte. Alonzo Mourning broke his thumb and opponents kept chopping down on it, busting up the healing.

               Perry told Zo that if he didn’t see signs of healing in a week, Perry would shut down Mourning for the rest of the season. Zo being Zo, he said no one shuts him down with a playoff spot at stake.

               So Perry told Zo, you’re not going to threaten your career for a handful of games. This is about us protecting you.

               Zo listened. So much so that years after the trade to Miami, Mourning made Heat medical staff phone up Perry for second opinions. Twenty-four years after signing on as Hornets team physician, Perry is retiring as primary doctor for the Charlotte Bobcats.

               Many of you tell me no one in Bobcats management has a clue. I get that emotional reaction. But Glenn Perry is the best team physician in the NBA and has been for a long time. Call that fortunate coincidence, but it’s true.

               Another Glenn Perry story:

               In 2003 Ed Tapscott was the first and only employee of the later-to-be-named Bobcats. He invited me into his office, which wasn’t an office at all: An empty space at Hive Drive with no desk or chairs. Just a phone. We sat on the carpet.

Tapscott threw me the media guide from the Hornets’ last season in Charlotte. He asked if there’s anyone he should hire.

               “Only one certainty,’’ Tapscott declared. “I’m hiring Glenn Perry ASAP.’’

               I’d heard Tapscott was smart. That proved it.

                High-level sports medicine is different from medicine in general. It’s as much psychology as surgery. An alpha male trying to keep playing is absurdly different from a grandma needing a hip replacement. So way back when, Perry convinced the Miller Clinic (his former employer) to build space for a separate sports medicine center.

               At the time it was a radical concept. Now it’s standard practice. The needs of the athlete – whether it’s Tyrus Thomas with a torn meniscus or the mom with a torn muscle from a yoga class – is different. Treating those unique ailments and mindsets has become a specialty and Perry understood it was a growing practice in a health-conscious society.

               For much of the last quarter-century Perry has done surgery all morning, seen patients all afternoon, and then shown up at Hornets or Bobcats home games in case something happens. In the meantime he’s had a second family, and I can’t imagine how he’s juggled all this this for so long.

               One more Glenn Perry story: In 2009 I scheduled an appointment because a cramp in my calf wouldn’t go away. I was coughing a lot, but that’s typical of my asthma in the summer.

               One minute we were joking about the Bobcats and the next minute Glenn was running out of the examination room, shouting “Stat!’’ because he diagnosed a blood clot headed toward my heart.

               Glenn might have saved my life that day, but that’s not only why I’m writing this.  It’s because anyone who walks through his doors gets that expertise and care daily.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM | Permalink


Dr. P embodies the phrase "Southern Gentleman."

Posted by: BlueTieGuy | Jun 11, 2012 11:39:32 AM

Terrific doctor and friend. Kept me healthy for several seasons with the Hornets. Always a favorite of the players, he was the grease that made the franchise run smoothly. Enjoy your well deserved break!

Posted by: J. Reid | Jun 11, 2012 11:53:11 AM

At the beginning of the year Dr. Perry performed surgery on my daughter's knee. He was reccommeded to us by one of the schools recruiting her. He was certainly a blessing of pure competence in his work. Having already been diagnoised by another physician wanting to repair the damage with stitches( a much more sensitive & invasive surgery)Dr. Perry assured us it was only a small tear in the Lateral meniscus and educated us thouroughly on our options. Since deciding to allow him to perform the surgery - we couldn't be happier with the results. Thanks Dr.Perry & enjoy your time with the grand kids!

Posted by: Sr. Tarheel | Jun 11, 2012 1:31:40 PM

Dr. Perry performed a cartilage transplant on my knee many years ago. Before this was the "norm". I walk today because of his knowledge and expertise. Years later he performed surgery on my daughter's knee. She and I both consider him "our hero".

Sandy Powley

Posted by: Sandy Powley | Jun 11, 2012 1:42:04 PM

In my honest opinion, alienating himself from his "1st family" and his "1st employer" (Miller) isn't exactly "juggling" effectively is it?

Posted by: john | Jun 11, 2012 1:51:57 PM

I played football at Davidson in 1987, and Dr. Perry was our team doctor. I'm glad to hear he was able to recover from working with one of the worst football teams in the country at the time salvage his career. I kid. Dr. Perry was an awesome guy. Based on who he was back then, it's no surprise to me that he would garner accolades like yours, 25 years later.

Posted by: Mike Gross | Jun 11, 2012 2:20:44 PM

Glenn Perry loves him some Glenn Perry.

Posted by: tu madre | Jun 11, 2012 2:38:59 PM

Dr Perry is one of a kind. He first worked on me in 1986 repairing the ACL in my right knee. Since then, he has gone on to do 3 more surgeries on my knees, and 4 on my wife's knees. We have both kidded him about being the sole providers for a nice vacation home he no doubt has somewhere. He has always been kind to us both and has treated us with the same respect and care as he has done with the professional athletes around Charlotte. We would talk with him quite often during the Hornets games at the old coliseum. Great doctor and an even better man. Best wishes from the Eakes family.

Posted by: Raven | Jun 11, 2012 2:45:45 PM

Dr. Perry did my ACL surgery in the 90's with amazing results, has operated on my brother and my mother several times. And when my father was head coach at Davidson, VT and coaching at Clemson he did several surgeries for him too. They also remained great friends until my father passed. What a great Dr. who deserves his break..From the Hussey Family.

Posted by: Greg Hussey | Jun 11, 2012 4:21:18 PM

Dr. Perry has been our family Orthopedic for well over 5 years. He is such a excellent doctor ....what will we ever do without you.....Best wishes Dr.Perry. We are so greatful to you for getting us through every surgery and making us better off then we were!

Posted by: Lisa Smalley | Jun 14, 2012 3:47:28 PM

you had to know it was coming...Rick got something out of this in order to have motivation to write it.

Posted by: Frank | Jun 19, 2012 3:09:02 PM

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