LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 18, 2023) — Mary Lloyd Ireland, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and professor in the department of orthopedics and sports medicine at the University of Kentucky, has been inducted into the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Hall of Fame at the organization’s 2023 annual meeting, which was held July 13-16 in Washington, D.C.
Induction into the AOSSM Hall of Fame is the highest honor given to a society member in recognition of their great achievements in sports medicine. The AOSSM has named 90 people to its Hall of Fame. Ireland is the fourth woman to be named.
“I am deeply honored to join these giants in the Hall of Fame who lifted me on their shoulders to see possibilities,” Ireland said after receiving the recognition. “I thank everyone for the chance and opportunity to thrive as a sports medicine physician — and excel.”
Mark R. Hutchinson, M.D., who practices sports medicine and orthopaedics at University of Illinois Health, completed a medical fellowship under Ireland. During a celebration of her Hall of Fame induction, Hutchinson called Ireland the “consummate educator” and talked about academic heritage, a term he uses to describe how generations of students are influenced by their teachers as well as by their teachers’ teachers. He named renowned orthopaedic surgeons who Ireland studied under as a fellow.
“Jack Hughston, Lyle Micheli, and James Andrews shared their wisdom with Dr. Ireland and she, in turn, shared it with her fellows and brought her own wisdom,” he said. “This is her legacy. She has had thousands of patients, hundreds of elite and Olympic athletes, and thousands of students. And through these fellows and students, she has another generation of patients who have benefited from her work.”
Hutchinson also spoke of how the Active Girls and Health Women initiative, which Ireland cofounded, contributes to her legacy and extends the reach of her care. He announced the launch of a campaign for Active Girls and Healthy Women and reported that the orthopaedic surgeons who had completed fellowships under Ireland were making a joint gift to the campaign.
Founded in 2018, Active Girls and Healthy Women is an initiative of the UK Sports Medicine Research Institute in the UK College of Health Sciences.
“Dr. Ireland’s induction into the AOSSM Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor,” said Scott Lephart, Ph.D., dean of the UK College of Health Sciences. “Her dedication to the well-being of all is remarkable. And I join the many people — from her fellows and physician colleagues, to her grateful patients, to her life-long friends — in considering it a privilege to work with her to create her legacy through Active Girls and Healthy Women.”
Ireland received her medical degree from the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences in Memphis. Her orthopedic residency was at the University of California, Irvine. She did two fellowships in Sports Medicine: Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard University in Boston; and Hughston Orthopaedic Clinic in Columbus, Georgia.
Ireland served as team physician for Eastern Kentucky University for 18 years and team physician for the University of Kentucky for 11 years. She also served as medical coordinator and head physician for the Bluegrass State Games for 11 years, and was the head physician at the Olympic Sports Festival in Minneapolis in 1990. She served as medical staff member at the Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992.
Ireland is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. She is a member of the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society, Kentucky State Advisory Council on Athletic Trainers, and an affiliate member of the National Athletic Trainers Association. She has served on the Kentucky Medical Association's Committee on School Health, Physical Education, and Medical Aspect of Sports for the past 33 years.
Ireland has published 45 chapters and 65 articles in peer reviewed journals. She is co-editor of The Female Athlete (Saunders 2002) and editor of the AAOS Instructional Course Lectures - Sports Medicine, published (2005).
Ireland was named Southeast Athletic Trainer's Association Sports Medicine Person of the Year in 1997 and was the recipient of President's Challenge Award for National Athletic Trainer's Association in 1998. She received the American College of Sports Medicine citation award in 2015. She was the first person inducted into the Sayre School Hall of Fame in 1996, and she was inducted into the Kentucky High School State Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
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