UNT Offers Performers Medical Treatment


Dr. Yein Lee treats musician Jose Saavedra | Image by WFAA

Doctors are doing what they can to make sure the sound of music continues to be heard across the Lone Star State, starting with the health of those creating the melodies.

Jose Saavedra, a double bass player with the Amarillo Symphony, hopes to be recognized as one of the world’s best musicians someday. But this dream was nearly snatched away by a post-opera accident that required medical attention.

“Opera performances are really long,” Saavedra told WFAA. “So, it was past midnight. I had to go back to my home. It was raining. I fell over my bicycle, and I sprained these bones in my hand.”

After the accident, Saavedra visited the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic, which specializes in treating and preventing injuries that artists typically run into while practicing their art. The clinic is a part of a UNT pilot program whose goal is to emphasize the “whole health” theory supported by UNT’s Health Science Center at Fort Worth.

But the most notable thing about the clinic is that it is free, according to Dr. Yein Lee, who treated Saavedra.

“This is a free clinic for any kind of performing artist. So, if you are a performer of any kind, any age, then you can come and see us and our physicians at this clinic for free,” said Lee to WFAA.

The clinic was made possible through the support of a private donor.

Performers in the metroplex can schedule appointments until the end of March. However, clinic operators hope to find a way to run the pilot program longer since it gives individuals a chance to see a doctor, regardless of their resources.

Lee is an amateur musician herself, having learned to play the piano and violin at age 4.

The clinic’s co-director, Dr. Sajid Surve, also has a musical background and blends this knowledge into his treatment plans. He even set up dance and music medicine clinics while at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine.

He also believes a free clinic specializing in treatment for artists is vital for the performing arts community.

“We’ve taken care of basically anyone across the spectrum of performers, dancers, musicians, singers, you name it, we’ve done it,” said Surve.

In the case of Saavedra, he told WFAA that without the Performing Artists Medicine Clinic, he is sure that he wouldn’t have been able to get back to doing what he loves so quickly. He is currently trying new methods of playing the double bass without worsening his injury, following the doctors’ suggestions.

More information about UNT’s Texas Center for Performing Arts Health and its Performing Arts Medicine Clinic can be retrieved from the center’s website.

Any performers interested in scheduling an appointment with the clinic at the Health Science Center at Fort Worth should call (817)-735-2455.

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