Dr. J. Richard Steadman dies at 85


J. Richard Steadman, MD, who founded the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo., died at age 85, the practice said Jan. 22.

Dr. Steadman died in his sleep Jan. 20 in Vail, according to a news release. He founded the Steadman Clinic in 1990 and was chair emeritus. He was also co-chair of the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, which he founded in 1988. 

Dr. Steadman earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and completed an internship and residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. He also served in the U.S. Army for two years.

During his career, Dr. Steadman developed several advanced knee procedures, including the "microfracture" and "healing response." His microfracture technique has been adapted to treat other joints, and the healing response procedure was designed to leverage the body's own healing potential. 

Dr. Steadman treated multiple professional athletes, Olympians and public figures. In some cases, he helped athletes who suffered potentially career-ending injuries return to their sports.

The Steadman Sports Medicine Research Foundation, now called the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, is known for its clinical research database and study of orthopedic injuries. 

"Dr. Steadman was an incredible surgeon and leaves a remarkable legacy of innovation in the field of orthopedics and sports medicine," Marc Philippon, MD, managing partner of the Steadman Clinic and co-chair of SPRI, said in the release. "He knew the value of outcomes research and was a true pioneer not only in techniques, but also in the importance of science and the practice of evidence-based medicine. Steady was a champion for his patients, a kind and dedicated physician with a healing touch. He truly, deeply cared for every patient he met, and prioritized their outcomes."

Dr. Steadman retired from active practice in 2014. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

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