Monday, June 28, 2010

Leo Alumnus Dr. Steve Reid Paid Tribute by Sun Times' Rick Tealander

One of the joys of my job as Director of Development for Leo High School is the parade of courageous and committed men who are the Leo Alumni. This parade marches through Chicago every day without the need fanfare or promotion as it is a quiet parade of service to Church, Community and Country.

Last fall, I posted a notice upon the passing of Dr. Steve Reid, M.D., who was an athlete and scholar at Leo High School and Northwestern University.

Dr. Reid was a pioneer in sports medicine.

Today, Chicago Sun Times sport columnist Rick Tealander offers a substantial study of Dr. Reid's work in sports medicine, through an interview with his son, also Dr. Reid.

''I helped Dad after school [Reid went to Evanston High School] and while I was in residency,'' he says. ''But my dad was the power pack in the thing. We both wrote, but he was the main force. He put an enormous amount of time into the study. And he didn't get paid at all. I'm not sure he ever got the credit he deserved.''

I can guarantee you he didn't. Reid Sr. died last fall at 94, and though his 20-year brain-trauma study eventually was nominated for a Nobel Prize in medicine, the former Northwestern All-America guard in the 1930s and Leo High School grad from the South Side was quiet, modest and in it for the love of the game and the improvements he might be able to bring. He had, after all, been a two-way player -- an offensive and defensive guard -- on the Wildcats' Rose Bowl-champion team in 1949. As a sophomore, he had broken his nose so badly that he became the first player in the Big Ten to wear a facemask.

''Ol' Doc Reid,'' as we called him, was the doctor for Northwestern's football team from 1951 to 1984, and I remember him as a kindly, curious, unassuming man who always had a pipe clenched between his teeth.

To measure and record the brain waves of a human being during a violent game isn't an easy thing to do, especially when it never has been done before. Reid Sr. asked for and received help from NASA in developing a contraption that involved a ground wire and four electrodes that recorded gravitational forces in three directions and that had to be glued to the player's head and hooked to a bulbous protrusion at the back of his helmet. It then sent out signals to the EEG receiver in the press box

Dr. Steve Reid '33, Dr. J.B. Hartney '38 who pioneered burn-treatments and blood analysis after the tragic Our Lady of Angels fire, and Dr. Joe Cari '31 who treated the Chicago Bears under Pap Bear Halas, Dr. Thom Driscoll '44, a pediatrician who brought thousands of south siders into this world and founded Palos Hospital,Dr. Robert Vanecko '53 one of Chicago's greatest thoracic surgeons, or the great head of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at Loyola Med Center and Hines VA Hospital James Stankiewicz , MD '66 are just a very few of Leo Lions who shaped medicine.

Click my post title and read Rick Tealander' wonderful story of two remarkable medics - the Doctor Reids.

H/T to Dan Kelley - Wildcat Extraordinaire!

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