Lemak named medical director of new professional football league

Published 12:37 pm Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dr. Lawrence Lemak and his Lemak Sports Medicine and Orthopedics Clinic in Alabaster have been extremely busy lately.

Lemak, whose primary practice is located at Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, has taken on a few new roles this fall as he prepares to open his permanent clinic next to Shelby Baptist Medical Center off U.S. 31 in 2010.

Lemak accepted a new role this week as the chief medical officer of the United Football League, which will open its inaugural season Oct. 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lemak is also the chief medical officer for Major League Soccer.

Lemak, who has served as the medical director for the Alabama High School Athletic Association since he began his practice, also recently became the medical director for Shelby County Schools. On top of those responsibilities, Lemak also recently developed LemakHealth.com, a Web site for patients to get up-to-date information from medical experts.

Lemak said he hopes to connect his experience working with professional athletes to high school athletes in Shelby County.

“I would like to do at a local level what I’ve done at the national level,” Lemak said. “I would like to give the same quality of care to our high school athletes that I give to professional athletes.”

Lemak said Shelby Baptist will be heavily involved in his new role with the UFL. Lemak operated on former NFL player Tim Goodwell Monday at SBMC, which he said was the first time a professional athlete has had a procedure done at the medical center.

Lemak said he will routinely operate on professional players at Shelby Baptist as part of his role with the UFL.

“I will assign physicians and athletic trainers for all of the games,” Lemak said. “The athletes will also come to Birmingham for rehabilitation and surgery.”

Lemak said Shelby County Schools superintendent Randy Fuller was instrumental in getting him involved with athletes in Shelby County.

“I met with the Shelby County school board and they suggested it,” Lemak said. “We’re trying to implement as many programs as we can.”

One program will teach coaches how to provide care for an athlete if emergency personnel are unavailable. Lemak said he is using a program developed by the National Center for Sports Safety, which he founded in 2001.

Lemak said it isn’t possible to have an athletic trainer at every game or practice in Shelby County. Lemak said he has worked with the athletic training staff at the University of Georgia, and the school, which has an enrollment of nearly 35,000 students, doesn’t even have the resources to provide an athletic trainer at every game and practice for all of its athletic teams.

“We’re very aware we don’t have enough personnel to go around,” Lemak said. “We would love to see every school have an athletic trainer at all games.”

Lemak’s Web site, LemakHealth.com, will provide patients an additional outlet for healthcare information. Users can contribute to a community blog, create groups and ask questions in forums. The platform will allow patients to connect about living a healthy, active life.

On top of Lemak’s medical roles, he’s also looking forward to opening his new clinic in Alabaster. Lemak said he hopes to move into his new building “the first of the year.”

“I know they’re working like crazy trying to get it finished.” Lemak said.