The Tennessee Technological University Sports Medicine Department is an integral part of the Athletics Department. The Sports Medicine Department is made up of five full-time Certified Athletic Trainers, two Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainers, and several student athletic trainers. This staff is responsible for the health and well-being of all 14 sports and more than 300 student-athletes.
The Head Athletic Trainer is Joe Erdeljac, MS, ATC, who is in his 15th year at Tech. Also on his staff are assistant athletic trainers Mike Brown, Chuck Cushman, Adam Graham, Randi Kaplan, and Cari Zubke.
The Sports Medicine Department also has a Registered Physical Therapist on staff who works several days a week in a satellite clinic. The Physical Therapist is here for the student-athletes, the students and faculty on staff with the TTU community. This service is just like any other Physical Therapy Clinic where there is a fee for services, and most insurance is accepted.
Dr. Richard Williams is the University's Team Physician. He is assisted by several local physicians, along with a Team Optometrist and a Team Dentist.
Assisting the Athletic Training Staff:
Dr. Richard Williams
Richard I. Williams, M.S., M.D., serves as the Team Physician for Tennessee Tech student-athletes. Dr. Williams has specialized in sports medicine throughout his professional medical career, including experience with high school, college, Olympic and professional athletes. He is a member of Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance; this gives TTU athletes a wide range of sub-specialized orthopaedic surgeons to consult with when necessary, depending upon the nature of a specific injury or condition. He understands sports medicine from an athlete's point of view, participating on track and field and basketball teams during his high school and collegiate years. A 1975 graduate of Crawfordsville (Indiana) High School, Dr. Williams also spent one year as a foreign exchange student in West Germany. He graduated Cum Laude (A.B.) from Dartmouth College, and went on to earn an M.S. degree in Medical and Molecular Genetics from Indiana University, and an M.D. from the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Williams worked with the Indianapolis Colts medical staff and provided volunteer medical support for high school soccer and football teams in Indianapolis during his senior year in medical school, and also served as a research assistant at the Methodist Sports Medicine Center. During his residency at the University of Cincinnati Hospitals, Dr. Williams provided coverage for local high school and college football teams, and worked extensively with the University of Cincinnati athletic teams. He completed an Orthopedic Sports Medicine Fellowship with Kentucky Sports Medicine in Lexington, and during the 1994-95 season was the team physician at Eastern Kentucky University, including primary game coverage in football and basketball, and training room coverage for all sports. He also worked with local high schools and the University of Kentucky sports medicine staff, and had extensive clinic and operating room experience in all aspects of sports medicine care. Since 1995, Dr. Williams has been in practice in the Upper Cumberland; he has had primary responsibility for training room care/injury treatment and game coverage for all of Tennessee Tech's athletic programs. He has been involved with coverage for area high schools as well. Dr. Williams focused on knee and shoulder surgeries primarily during his surgical career, successfully returning countless TTU athletes to competition. He has retired from performing surgery, but still manages primary Sports Medicine coverage for Tech athletics.
Dr. James Talmage
Dr. James Talmage, M.D., has over a decade of providing a variety of services to Tennessee Tech's more than 300 student-athletes as general practitioner and consultant to the sports medicine staff. Currently a physician at the Occupational Health Center, Dr. Talmage moved to Cookeville in 1979 and has worked closely with the Tech sports medicine staff since 1987. While working with all men and women athletes, his primary area is the women's basketball program. After graduating with a degree in Physiology from The Ohio State University in 1968, he was Summa Cum Laude in 1972 from the OSU medical school. He served a one-year internship at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, then served his residency at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. His career in practice began in 1977 at the Ireland Army Hospital at Fort Knox, Ky., before moving to Cookeville in 1979 to begin work at Upper Cumberland Orthopedic Surgery. He has since worked with Cookeville Regional Medical Center, Family Medical Center, Internal Medicine Group and Corporate Health Institute. He is Board Certified both in orthopedic surgery and in emergency medicine, and among his published works and lectures have been numerous items relating to athletic injuries and sports medicine.
Dr. Garrett Shepherd
Dr. Clark Childress