Growing up in southern Lebanon, Bobby Gallo couldn’t imagine a life without sport. But even he couldn’t have imagined the path his life would take.
In retrospect, it all makes sense now. Not only is he still connected to the sport, but he’s had the chance to give back, making a difference in his community, and helping local student-athletes get the most out of their school experiences.
Now it’s Dr. Robert Gallo, a professor of orthopedic sports medicine at Penn State’s College of Medicine in Hershey. A 1994 graduate of Cedar Crest High School and a resident of Palmyra, Gallo is part of the sports medicine teams – formerly called “team doctor” – for North Lebanon, Lebanon, Annville-Cleona, Lebanon Valley College and the Harrisburg. Senators.
In short, he is living his dream, or its reality version.
“When I was a kid, sport was my whole life,” Gallo said. “I learned to read and do math on the back of baseball cards. I just couldn’t imagine a life without some kind of sport.
“Honestly, I struggled in college (with the choice of) becoming a sports journalist or a doctor,” he continued. “I think it was a little weird trying to decide between the two. But I think they’re more alike than you think. In each, you’re constantly learning and meeting people. But in medicine, I feel like I have a more personal contribution to people’s well-being.
Clearly, Gallo made the right decision.
As a professor of orthopedic sports medicine, Gallo’s duties have four main components: teaching, clinical, surgical and community service. But what piques Gallo’s professional interest are the people.
“I think it’s the relationships,” he said, when pressed for his favorite aspect of what he does. “My best day is interviewing students for medical school. You see people who want to help others. Sometimes I use it to refresh myself. But I enjoy all three components of my job.
“It’s not like I wasn’t being paid,” he added. “But it’s so cool when you can help people. Its important to me. I get a lot of joy from going to schools that don’t have as many resources as others. But they are all important to me.
Gallo has earned a reputation as one of the region’s most knowledgeable experts in the treatment and study of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, one of the most common injuries in all school sports. During his 14-year career, he has performed over 700 ACL surgeries, many of which have been performed by student-athletes in Lebanon County.
“Being able to restore someone’s ability to play, especially after a torn ACL, is pretty awesome,” Gallo said. “Then going to games and seeing kids who have torn their anterior cruciate ligament compete again, it’s so rewarding. When they go to college, I’m like, ‘Keep me posted.’ I think that it’s so cool to see their progress to the next level. Some will be inspired by it to go on and do something in the field of health.
“I enjoy getting out and helping on the sidelines (at local sporting events). People see you and people get to know you. I have a connection and affinity with Lebanon County.
After graduating from Penn State’s School of Medicine in 2002, Gallo completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh and a sports medicine and shoulder fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Pittsburgh. New York. Gallo, who played tennis during his years at Cedar Crest, is also set to become the director of the orthopedic residency program at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
“I think part of the notion of going into medicine is to help people, but it’s also because you want to learn,” Gallo, 46, said. “Those years (the advanced school years) were some of the most fulfilling times of my life. You see so many good things and bad things. You see trauma all the time and you see people’s lives change instantly forever. It definitely makes you less of a risk taker.
“My mother was an administrator at Lebanon Valley General Hospital (later the Hyman S. Caplan Pavilion),” he continued. “I have always been exposed to medicine. These were great years for me. I’ve always been surrounded by that, and I got good grades, so you’re kind of pushed in that direction.
There’s a saying in sports that hard workers make their own luck. Still a young man, Gallo is very much at the top of his game and very much at the top of his profession. He still has many goals to achieve.
“As you get older, you start thinking about your legacy and how people will remember you,” Gallo said. “I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by great people who took the time to support me. I have great parents; I went to great schools and was incredibly lucky. And I had great partners and colleagues. It is not easy to find an academic job in sports medicine. I am indebted to Hershey.
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