Seeing numerous patients during the day and then going to ballgames during the evening doesn’t leave Dr. Cary Guse a lot of spare time.
Once the high school sports seasons begin — and with football and most other fall teams beginning practice on Monday, that hour is nigh — his life can get more than a little hectic.
For Guse, though, that’s just a normal day at the office.
Guse, who doubles as the team doctor for both Columbus East and Columbus North when he’s not at Southern Indiana Orthopedics, said he always finds a balance that helps keep things less stressful.
“My kids are always with me on the sideline (at games),” said Guse, who has two children. “Both schools are really nice about letting me be with my kids. It’s good having them grow up and seeing me work and seeing what I do with sports.”
Guse got his undergraduate degree from Franklin College, where he participated in basketball and baseball. He then went on to receive his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine, and he also completed a Sports Fellowship Program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During his time there, he was on the medical staff for the five Minnesota professional sports teams and two colleges.
Guse has been at Southern Indiana Orthopedics for 12 years. He has been the team doctor for East for that entire time and at North for the past eight years. He serves as the supervising physician for the head athletics trainers at both schools.
Kathleen Gratz, who has been East’s athletics trainer since 2007, said Guse is pretty good about being available if needed for a second opinion but also not hovering more than necessary.
“It’s great that he lets us do our thing,” Gratz said. “He comes to the bigger games, so he is approachable, and we refer to him and let him handle the evaluation further. If he is at another game and an injury is serious enough, we can always call or text, depending on the case.”
Steve Souder, who has been North’s athletics trainer since 1978, agrees.
“I have a pretty good idea when I evaluate an injury on the significance of it,” Souder said. “It is great that he keeps an open line if an injury needs a second opinion.”
The most common injury cases Guse and the athletics trainers deal with are concussion-like symptoms. Most athletes that Guse sees at North and East take a baseline ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) test to see how their brain is functioning before an injury occurs and compare that data with the new data an athlete takes to check for a possible concussion.
If an athlete shows one sign of a concussion, they have to be cleared by a medical doctor before they can resume activities.
In most cases involving Columbus athletes, that means a visit with Dr. Guse.
“If they do have a concussion, then we got the data that we can compare it to themselves,” Guse said. “We also can compare the baseline test to normal data to see if it is above or below average.”
According to Guse, he sees an average of three to five students with other injuries during clinic sessions each week, though that varies depending on the month and season.
“We try to evaluate the athletes in the locker room and training room,” he said. “If I am at a game, I try to take care of much of it as possible because it is cheaper for them.
“If a situation does arise that they need an X-ray or need further care, I have morning walk-ins once football season starts, and I see about four to seven patients every Saturday morning that got an injury on Thursday or Friday night so they can recover faster and be ready to go next week.”
High school football teams open practice on Monday. A look at the first-day schedules for the two Columbus squads:
Columbus East: 8:30 a.m. to noon
Columbus North: 9:30 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.