The day was beautiful in the summer of 1990. Dr. J. Richard Steadman stepped into the operating room to perform his first operation at Vail Valley Medical Center. I recall the day as if it was yesterday. This day marked the beginning of 24 years of consistent and continuous success for The Steadman Clinic and for VVMC. The face of VVMC changed forever. VVMC became less of a seasonal hospital. Consistency in staffing in all areas has made it possible for hospital staff to settle into the community, raise families and purchase homes. Dr. Steadman’s arrival and the growth of The Steadman Clinic provided the medical center the opportunity to grow into a full-service community medical center, offering many services that small, rural hospitals cannot provide, but Eagle County residents appreciate.
The inception of the nonprofit Steadman Sports Medicine Research Foundation in 1988, later to be known as the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, has brought the world to Vail, distinguishing SPRI as a top research facility for sports medicine. SPRI is recognized for its tremendous research efforts and outcomes in the many professional publications revered by orthopedic surgeons worldwide. I believe that sports medicine is forever changed by Dr. Steadman, and the research his team has conducted.
Dr. Steadman also built a team of leading orthopedic surgeons and helped grow the surgical and rehabilitation capacity in Vail. These surgeons will continue to pave the future of orthopedics as Dr. Steadman steps aside.
The tall, quiet, unassuming man and great surgeon will forever be present in the halls and operating rooms at VVMC. Knowing him and working with Dr. Steadman is such a tremendous honor. On behalf of the VVMC and Vail Health Services Boards and staff, I extend my deepest gratitude for the excellent care and compassion for improving the lives of so many. I congratulate Dr. Steadman on his retirement and the legacy of an exceptional career and a top-notch clinic that will continue his quest to treat patients from all walks of life, including recreational and professional athletes from all over the world.
President & CEO, Vail Valley Medical Center