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South Bend Orthopaedics welcomes Dr. James Flynn, a fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon

dr James Flynn joins South Bend Orthopaedics, foot and ankle surgeon in South Bend Orthopaedics

South Bend Orthopaedics is pleased to welcome Dr. James Flynn to our practice. Dr. Flynn is a graduate from Notre Dame and spent a year as a volunteer at the Sr. Maura Brannick Health Center where he developed a strong connection with the people of South Bend. Dr. Flynn is now accepting new patients at our South Bend, Mishawaka, and Plymouth offices. Please click here to view Dr. Flynn's biography.

Dr. Flynn is an orthopaedic surgeon with sub-specialty training in the medical and surgical care of foot and ankle problems. His goal is to personalize non-surgical and surgical treatment options for each patient. His practice covers general orthopedics and all aspects of ankle and foot care, including:

  • Routine screening of patients with ankle and foot pain and deformity
  • Complex ankle and foot reconstruction due to diabetes or traumatic injury
  • Bunions, hammertoes, and adult acquired flatfoot deformity
  • Stress and injury among high-performance athletes of all ages
  • Reconstructive surgery, including total ankle replacement
  • Achilles' tendonitis/rupture, heel pain, and plantar fasciitis
  • Treatment for ankle and foot arthritis
  • Repair of ligament sprains and tears

Reprinted from Irish Illustrated (June 2014)

Brian Ratigan was a long, rangy, multi-sport star out of Council Bluffs, Iowa, back in the late '80s. He arrived at Notre Dame under head coach Lou Holtz at a time when the Irish were starting a six-year run in which they won 64 times, lost nine and tied one.

Ratigan's arrival coincided with a logjam of linebacker talent at Notre Dame, competing with the likes of Ned Bolcar, Michael Stonebreaker, Demetrius DuBose and several other highly-regarded prep defenders.

Ratigan, despite arriving at Notre Dame in the fall of 1989 a month removed from knee surgery, would play in every game for the Irish through the 1992 season, notching 60 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one interception, the latter of which came against Michigan's Elvis Grbac in a 17-17 tie with the Wolverines in 1992.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder - the son of a forklift mechanic and nurse -- would go on to spend three injury-plagued years with the Indianapolis Colts. Ratigan, who graduated from Notre Dame from the College of Business Administration with a degree in Marketing, began pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor during his off-seasons in Indianapolis.

He would go on to marry Maura Fenningham, a double graduate of Notre Dame, including its law school, from a family of attorneys. Ratigan earned his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where he began his "team physician phase" with the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles.

He served his fellowship in Los Angeles at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic, working with the professional teams in the area, including the Lakers, Dodgers, Kings, Ducks and, to a lesser extent, USC.

In 2008, in an incredible if not unprecedented turn of events, Ratigan - a surgeon at South Bend Orthopaedics -- returned to his alma mater as the head of orthopedic sports medicine for football and baseball. He begins his seventh season in that capacity this fall. Maura is an adjunct professor in the Notre Dame Law School. They are the parents of five - Sean, Conor, Kelly, Austin and Reese.

TIM PRISTER: When you came to Notre Dame in the late '80s out of Council Bluffs, you had all the accolades and all the measurables to be a very successful football player for the Irish. You also came at a time when Notre Dame was blessed with several top-notch linebackers.

BRIAN RATIGAN: At that time, I was pretty naïve as a high school kid. My brother played Division I football two years ahead of me. He went to Iowa State and they were the only Division I school to recruit him. The year before him, we had a kicker who went to play at Iowa State as well. Aside from that, there were no Division I football players from our high school, and it was a small high school. We had 16 guys letter my senior year. We played both sides of the ball.

I went to the Notre Dame camp my junior year, and at that camp is where I realized I could do it. (Defensive coordinator) Barry Alvarez was here then and it went well. I ran both 40s in the 4.5s and I did everything I had to do for them. They offered the scholarship…but I didn't get it. I didn't understand what it meant to have a scholarship offer.

Then I came on a recruiting trip for the Penn State game. Notre Dame was No. 1 and in the process of going to the national championship game (against West Virginia). I came in for the banquet. I was in Lou Holtz's office and his house…

Everybody was accepting the scholarship offers but I didn't accept the offer because I didn't know I was supposed to. I had no idea. In my mind, I was going to come to school here, but I intended to take other trips. I finally called Coach Alvarez after Christmas. I had recruiting visits set up. I went to USC, Nebraska, Iowa State and I canceled Stanford and UCLA. I was only holding my commitment until visiting those other schools, but I really had no interest in those schools. I was allowed five visits so I was going to take the visits.

So I finally call (Alvarez) after canceling some visits and I'm ready to commit. And Alvarez is like, 'Rat, what are you talking about? We don't have a scholarship anymore.' So I was like, 'What do you mean?' And he said, 'Look, you came to the summer camp, you came to the games and you never told us you wanted to come.' I said, 'I thought it was rude to commit before I finished my visits,' and he's like, 'No!'

He said, 'Listen, I'll be there tomorrow morning. Don't do anything; don't call anyone. I've got a kid that's waffling right now between us and Miami. I'm going to call him and if he waffles at all, I'm going to take it away.' So the next morning, he said, 'It's yours.' But that was a rough night.

TP: Who was the kid who went to Miami?

BR: (laughing) I don't know, but he was probably some All-Pro.

TP: Considering how small of a school you came from, you weren't concerned about the level of competition you'd be facing on your own team?

BR: I wasn't intimidated. I was excited about it. I never lacked confidence in my ability. I didn't know if I could make it here, but I thought if they thought I could do it…

I was all about the education. I only got one B in high school. I wanted to be a doctor. I worked hard in high school because sports weren't my go-to. I was good at football and other sports, but it wasn't my go-to for college.

My mom hated football. She didn't know what a first down was. My dad didn't play football because his high school was a farming town and they only had basketball and baseball. We just played because that's what you did.

TP: So when you came to Notre Dame, was it a culture shock?

BR: Big time. Big time. It was a huge shock. I had a roommate who was a wild man. He was very fast and progressive. He didn't care about school and flunked out. So that was a problem because he was very distracting and really taking in the college life. I was trying to focus on grades and football, and I ended up studying more football than grades that first semester because let's face it, you end up getting yelled at on the football field and you're not getting yelled at in the classroom.

I did okay, but it was tough. School was tough, football was tough, getting to know people was tough. I was in Dillon Hall and I was a pretty shy kid. That was a hard semester, but I knew I wanted to do it. I felt like I belonged here and it was just the next step.

TP: So early on, who was your main competition to get on the field?

BR: My first year was phenomenal because Alvarez loved me. He was very good to me. So in my year, we had Demetrius DuBose, Nick Smith, Randy Siana, who was all everything in Illinois and the regional Gatorade player of the year. But he had colitis and tore his knee up. Then we had two guys kicked out, Shawn Smith and Erik Simien.

So from our class - (quarterback) Jake Kelchner was my roommate - these superstars were gone. Dorsey Levens went to Georgia Tech because he and Holtz didn't get along. We had a phenomenal class. Michael Smalls was ahead of me. He went to UCLA in the middle of a semester because he was homesick. I had Stonebreaker ahead of me, Donnie Grimm, Ned Bolcar…guys that I wasn't going to see the field in front of right away.

When it was time, the class below me - Pete Bercich, Anthony Peterson, Jim Flanagan - were studs. Pete was a really smart, intelligent linebacker. I knew he was better against the run, and if we were playing a running team, they were more likely to put him on the field than me. But I was much better against the pass, so I got out there as a nickel backer. When we played passing teams, I'd play most of the time. Bill Romanowski was the guy I was watching because he was out there for all the pass plays, and I could play the pass well. I knew how to play the zones. I took a lot of pride not letting the tight end catch the ball. That was my thing.

So I made a name for myself on special teams. We were lucky. We had Rocket. I wanted to be on special teams. Who didn't want to be out there to run down the field and congratulate him in the end zone?

TP: Guys like Wes Pritchett and Frank Stams always spoke highly of Alvarez. What was it like playing for him?

BR: He was phenomenal, although I only got to play for him for one year. That was one of the disappointments of my time in college because I played for three linebacker coaches in my four years - Alvarez, Gary Darnell and Rick Minter. Minter was like Alvarez, very confident in what he was doing and what he was teaching us. We had so much talent during that time.

My son saw somewhere that I was among the top 105 players in the country coming out of high school. I was recruited by Notre Dame and I went to their camp. Once they recruited me as the No. 1 team in the country, everyone recruited me. That's how I got on the list. Plus, it was about that time that I hit three home runs in a game against the No. 1 pitcher in Iowa.

TP: What would you consider to be the highlights of your football career at Notre Dame?

BR: The interception against Grbac was great, but we didn't win. We tied. The Snow Bowl against Penn State. We had a crappy game against Navy when it was really cold. I took my helmet off and it was freezing, and I couldn't get it back on. So I went over to the heater - we had two tiny heaters and I wanted to warm it up - and the heater popped the bladder in my helmet. So I'm running down the field and my helmet is rattling around. But I had like 12 tackles.

Boston College my senior year, I got the game ball because the tight end didn't make a catch. Their whole thing was their tight end making catches. He was making 10 or 12 a game. So I played him everywhere and he just couldn't get open. We won, 54-7. I was dying the next year. I love Pete (Bercich), but a year earlier, that would have been me (on the pass that Bercich dropped, which led to BC's game-winning field goal). I could have made that catch because that's what I did.

TP: Who do you stay in contact with from those days?

BR: Rick Mirer, Junior Bryant…Junior was from Omaha, so we car-pooled together back in the day. My wife's a lawyer and she's done work with him. Todd Norman, who's in New York. Jason Sapp. But guys obviously have scattered. One of the benefits of being back here is that different guys are coming in every other week, so I get to see them again. Before Mirko (Jurkovic) passed away, we spent a lot of time together. It was tough seeing him go. That was a hard loss. Great guy.

TP: Let's touch upon the NFL and then let's talk about your work. Three years with the Colts. 

BR: Three credited years, one healthy year. That's kind of the way I look at it. In '93, I ruptured a disc in my back and that's when I thought I was done. That's what gave me an opportunity to start pursuing medicine. I graduated with a marketing degree, a business degree. So then I went back to school while I was with the Colts. I knew even if I played 10 years, it wasn't enough. I wasn't a big-time player, but at that time you're thinking, 'If I make a million a year'…It still wasn't enough over the long haul. So I wanted to have something lined up when I was done. I wasn't real satisfied after college with a business profession. I wanted to go to med school.

So when I ruptured a disc in my back, I had a drop foot and it was there for like six months. I had surgery a couple days later and the drop foot didn't come back for a long time. So even though I had a two-year contract with the Colts, one year was going to be upheld just in case. They release you then and settle with you. But (the foot responded) and in the off-season I started taking the courses to go to med school - physics, organic chemistry - and I had a real good spring. That next year, in '94, I had a good year. I got the special teams award from the Colts.

The next year, I hurt my shoulder and I hurt my knee. So I had four pre-seasons but three credited seasons. If you're there for three years, you get a pension. I'll get a pension when I'm 55. It's $765 a month. I'll take it. That probably won't cover a car payment by then, but I'll take it.

TP: There can't be too many former players that are orthopedic surgeons for their alma maters. Do you know of anyone beside yourself?
BR: I don't. It was definitely a goal, probably beginning when I was here playing football. I wanted to be a doctor before I got here, and it was rerouted for all the right reasons. I loved business. I really did. I was all-in and loving it. But I wanted to be a doctor.

It's been an interesting journey. I don't know when it all fell into place. But while I was playing here, I loved watching the doctors and what they were doing. Maybe because I had surgeries when I was here. I could have done five of the six surgeries I had, except for the back. I had three here and three with the Colts.

TP: I'm sure some of the players know you played here, but…

BR: I want them to know my background because it can help them and that's why I'm here. But I can't be the one to say it because then you sound like a guy talking about himself, which is not something anyone's receptive to. I hate when people do that. I don't want to be that guy. I do it, but only to guys who I think might want to hear it. But most players aren't going to respond to that, so I need someone else to grease the wheels for me.

The players realize I've been there, which is why I wanted to come back here. I love Notre Dame and I wanted these players to realize that I can help you stay on the field and I can help you stay off the field if it's going to hurt you. I will do what's right for you.

Louis Nix was very appreciative of me. He said, 'Doc, I know you'll protect me.' He said, 'Kyle Rudolph said I can trust you.'

TP: You also do surgeries for the baseball program.

BR: There aren't many baseball guys who need surgeries. A couple Tommy John surgeries here and there.

TP: You got that Tommy John surgery down pat?

BR: I better.

TP: How many of those have you done?

BR: Probably a couple dozen. You don't do that many. You get better at the rehab part of it in watching how they recover.

TP: The procedure is the procedure?

BR: It is. There are a couple of ways to skin a cat and you have to know different ways because the anatomy can be slightly different. I'm very comfortable doing that one. I trained where it was invented. Dr. Jobe. The Kerlan-Jobe Clinic. You cannot leave that fellowship without knowing how to do it. He made sure we didn't just have his way down, but other ways, too. It will be better in 10 years than it is now because of the technology. But the anatomy is the anatomy.

TP: So how many football surgeries per year at Notre Dame?

BR: Probably less since (head trainer) Rob Hunt got here. He's great. A lot of preventative stuff. Probably 15-to-20 football surgeries per year. More than people think because guys will have surgery and people don't even know it. That's by design. It's not that we're hiding it from NFL coaches, but we want guys to be able to rehab. It's done in the off-season when people aren't asking questions. If it's the Tuesday after the Michigan game and they have the whole season to play, everyone is going to know.

One year, we had like nine guys lined up after the bowl game. I knocked out nine surgeries, one right after the other.

TP: You worked out in Los Angeles with the pro teams. What about USC?

BR: We covered the Dodgers and the Angels, the two hockey teams - the Ducks and the Kings - and USC football. I didn't do anything with USC. I traded it. Every time it was my turn to cover USC football, I swapped it. Everybody wants to cover USC football, but I passed every time. I didn't want anything to do with it.

I wasn't making a statement and I was very comfortable with football. My goal the whole time was to come back here and work with Notre Dame football. So theoretically, for experience and training, you should want to go out and hang out with a college football team.

But I already knew what was going on. I played the game at multiple levels and I was with the Eagles for a while in Philadelphia. I knew what the experience was like and I didn't want anything to do with USC. I went to the (Los Angeles) Avengers, the Arena League team, and went onto the field with my two boys and kicked field goals after games. Guys were like, 'You're swapping me USC football for the Avengers?' I'm like, 'Absolutely,' and they're like, 'You're crazy!'

TP: Most famous athlete, outside of Notre Dame, that you worked with…

BR: There were a lot of guys out in L.A. that we were involved with. We treated Kobe (Bryant) a lot. I assisted with treatment when Kevin Garnett was in town for the Celtics. John Kruk.

TP: Are you healthy from your football career?

BR: Six surgeries. The injuries I got when I was playing that really forced me to leave were turf toe. You cannot play long-term with turf toe. You can't backpedal and drive forward. I had turf toe on both feet. They ache. If I were to go play basketball with you tonight, my toes would be killing me for a couple of days. You hit a guy who's 300 pounds and try to drive forward and your toes give way. So if I have a guy with a toe injury, I'm very aggressive with the treatment for them because that was a huge part of why I stopped playing.

TP: But you don't do surgery on feet.

BR: No, but I'll see it and treat it. Prince Shembo needed turf toe surgery. He just exploded his. So for him, I was very aggressive. In the old days, we would have sat and watched it, let it heal and deal with the pain. He never would have been as explosive as he was if we hadn't done the surgery. We sent him to Brian Donley, who is a foot and ankle specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. I know guys like that throughout the country, so if I have something, I can make sure they get to the right guy. If it's not something I treat and treat well, I'm not doing it. I don't need the pat on the back. Getting someone to do it well is what it's all about.

So I sent Prince to Brian Donley and he did a great job with a great outcome. I want these kids to know I'm not looking to drum up surgery. I couldn't survive on the surgeries of just Notre Dame players. I couldn't feed my family on that. There aren't enough. I lose money covering Notre Dame football. If that's what it's all about, I'm in the wrong field.

I like Notre Dame football. I like that I'm the right guy for it. I like when they call me to help with a recruit, not just to feel them out, but to talk to kids that may want to become a doctor some day. I think they should use me more. I think I have a decent story. It's a fun story. I'm proud of it. I want everybody to know about it, but I want them to take advantage of it.

I think I'm the right guy enough so that they will let me mention how I can make things better. 'You guys should consider some research. You guys should consider this. Have you thought about this?' Jack Swarbrick is a very progressive thinker. He is all over not just sitting where we are. Let's move forward. Let's get ahead of people. Let's be proactive and not reactive.

TP: What are you other goals?

BR: My goal is to maybe go 20 years with (Notre Dame). I like to set goals, but every year they change. I'd really like to get involved with a youth development program on a variety of levels, having the sports performance enhancement. I want kids to max out their abilities and do it in an injury-free way with nutrition. I don't want people locally feeling like they need to go to the IMG Academy. I don't need it to be that huge. But I want people here with a kid who is going to be great through eighth grade be great through eighth grade. Then if he plays in high school, so be it. Hopefully he's already learned how to have a healthy lifestyle so that when he's 40, I'm not seeing him as a smoker who popped his Achilles and is never going to heal.

There are so many things we can do early to get good habits. It's a lack of education. There's still stuff about nutrition that I'm still learning, and I'm a doctor for crying out loud. So how do you expect someone who's turning wrenches their whole life - like my dad - to know how to eat right? He's got five minutes to go to McDonald's. I grew up in that lifestyle. I get it, but it's not right. There are better ways.

I need a team around me to help develop this business plan to get it going. I can bring something to the table. It's not all about Notre Dame football. I've got kids. South Bend/Granger is a good area, but any area will work. There are receptive people everywhere. There are kids that are spending $75-to-100 a pop for an hour of batting practice lessons. There's more to it than just batting practice. There's explosiveness, running, jumping, cross-fit…This whole thing doesn't work unless you have quality people to run it and unfortunately, the whole thing doesn't work unless you are making money. You have to get paid for your time. You can love it all you want, but you've got to be reimbursed.

To do it for Notre Dame, you have to be reimbursed, whether it's tuition benefits or whatever. To do it for South Bend/Granger, you need to find a way to make it happen with good, quality people. You and I know the highest paid people in the country should be teachers. That's who should be paid the most and it will never change, and it's really unfortunate.

SBO Surgeon Elected President of Indiana Orthopaedics Society

Robert E. Clemency, Jr., MD, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at South Bend Orthopaedics, has been elected president of the Indiana Orthopaedic Society (IOS). The IOS is a professional association representing over 400 orthopedic surgeons throughout the state. He took office during the 2012 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis this past April.

Dr. Clemency has been with South Bend Orthopaedics since 1993. He specializes in sports medicine and joint replacement, and has worked with the University of Notre Dame Athletic Department since 1993. He has been the team physician for the Notre Dame hockey team since 1998.

Founded in 1957, the purpose of the Indiana Orthopaedic Society is to enhance the commitment of the practicing orthopaedic surgeons in Indiana to stay abreast of current information and advancements in the dynamic practice of modern orthopedic surgery. The IOS Foundation has contributed to the Arthritis Foundation, Special Olympics, the Kenya Africa hospital project, and IU Orthopaedic Residency Program, providing grants to orthopaedic residents to attend the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference in Washington DC.

Total Ankle Replacement now performed at South Bend Orthopaedics

Dr. William Rozzi is now performing Total Ankle Replacement procedures at South Bend Orthopaedics. Benefits of total ankle replacement or arthroplasty include:

  • Pain relief from arthritis

  • Improved mobility and movement compared to traditional ankle fusion procedures

  • Less stress is transferred to the adjacent joints which can result in reduced occurrence of adjacent joint arthritis

Click here to learn more.

Want to be on our team?

South Bend Spine and South Bend Orthopedics wish the Notre Dame athletes the best in the upcoming season. Since 1949 our orthopedic specialists have played a supporting role to injured Notre Dame athletes to help them get back to their sports. Want to play a supporting role on OUR team?  We have openings from time to time. Click here to go to our career openings page and to complete a job application.

Upcoming educational seminars on hip replacement, knee replacement, back & neck pain

During the next year, South Bend Spine and South Bend Orthopedics will be providing free seminars that help people learn the most advanced treatment options for back pain, neck pain and degenerative hip and knee joints. This will include new implants for hip replacement, knee replacement and artificial disc replacement.  Revisit this page in the future to see upcoming dates and locations for seminars.

South Bend Orthopaedics and South Bend Spine In the News

 

Michiana Physicians Travel to Haiti

In February 2010, a team of local physicians volunteered to travel to Haiti to provide much-needed medical support. The team consisted of a general surgeon, 2 anesthesiologists, 2 ER physicians, a primary care physician, an infectious disease specialist, and South Bend Orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Fred Ferlic, Dr. Mike Yergler, Dr. Henry DeLeeuw (spine specialist) and Dr. Randy Ferlic (hand specialist). Over the course of a week at Sacred Heart Hospital in Milot, Haiti, they were able to treat several hundred patients surgically, and around 400 patients daily. Most of the patients had orthopedic injuries, including amputations, crush injuries, open lacerations, fractures and unfortunately there were numerous quadriplegics and paraplegics.

STOP Sports Injuries Campaign

This media segment highlights South Bend Orthopaedics efforts to stop youth sports injuries. SBO has joined with the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) to create the STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries Campaign. The Campaign is designed to help parents, coaches, healthcare providers and athletes learn more about the prevention, treatment and long-term consequences of overuse and trauma injury.

Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement

This media segment features a total knee replacement surgery performed by Dr. Jeff Yergler of South Bend Orthopaedics. Degenerative arthritis has caused the patient to have knee pain for more than 10 years. The surgery at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center was performed in the morning, and the patient was up and walking in rehab. that afternoon.

Hand Surgery Featuring New Pain Suppression Device

This news story focuses on pain control technology available to many of our patients. Dr. A.J. Mencias performs an outpatient hand surgery at Allied Physicians Surgery Center. This type of surgery can be very painful, so he utilizes the OnQ c-block, which will help block pain for up to 3 days after surgery.

Hip Replacement in a Day

This media segment features a new surgery technique that allows patients receiving a hip replacement to go home that same day. The procedure, called a Mini Total Hip Arthroplasty, is performed by Dr. Fred Ferlic of South Bend Orthopaedics. The surgery features a small incision, minimal muscle trimming and a quick recovery period.

New Spine Surgery Performed in Michiana

This news story details a new spine surgery called Extreme Lateral Innerbody Fusion for disc replacement. Spine Surgeon Dr. Thomas Mango with South Bend Orthopaedics is the first to perform this procedure in northern Indiana. The incision is made on the patient’s side, not the back, allowing for the muscles to be spread instead of cut and also allows the surgeon avoid large blood vessels and nerve endings in the back. Patients are normally up and walking within hours after surgery.

Reverse Shoulder Surgery With a Torn Rotator Cuff

This media segment highlights a Reverse Shoulder Surgery, which is the best option for shoulder replacement when there is a torn rotator cuff. A traditional shoulder replacement surgery is not effective in these situations, since the rotator cuff is not able to provide the support needed to hold the replacement in place. During the surgery, Dr. David Bankoff is assisted by Dr. Christopher Balint, both partners at South Bend Orthopaedics. The reverse shoulder replacement uses a ball-and-socket joint, but the ball is placed on the shoulder blade, and the socket is placed on top of the arm bone. This is the reverse of our normal anatomy, and thus the name “reverse shoulder replacement.”