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Dr. Thacher’s newest match is on the COVID-19 frontlines

Dr. Thacher’s newest match is on the COVID-19 frontlines
Ryan Thacher, left, in a doubles competition with Bradley Klahn, right, for the Stanford University men’s tennis program. Thacher competed for the Cardinal from 2008-12. (Photo: Stanford Athletics)

NEW YORK (BVM) — For the last couple of months, Dr. Ryan Thacher has spent his time in a different part of the hospital. With extra help needed for the coronavirus pandemic, the former All-American tennis player now works his 12-hour days in the ICU.

Before the pandemic began, the 30-year-old California native was a first-year orthopedic surgery resident at the Hospital of Special Surgery in Manhattan, where he did elective surgery. For the time being, Thacher has had to put his surgical training on standby, as the hospital’s focus has had to change. The hospital has suspended non-essential surgeries to create room in their 215 licensed beds.

Now, Thacher is on the frontlines helping people who have been affected by the coronavirus. His life in the medical field may have looked a little different had he decided to take a different career route close to a decade ago. 

During his time at Stanford University, Thacher had to make a crucial career decision when it came to his passion for the medical field. Thacher was a three-time All-American on the tennis court and decided he would give up the pursuit of a tennis career to help out others instead.

Thacher’s professional tennis career first started at a tour tournament at age 17. At the time, Thacher was ranked No. 1 by the US Tennis Association in the under-18 category. While playing at the collegiate level, Thacher and doubles partner Bradley Klahn shined, making it to the NCAA Doubles Tournament Finals in 2011.  He ended his career at Stanford with 231 combined singles and doubles wins.

During the tail end of his collegiate career, Thacher decided he would focus on becoming a doctor after a short period on the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Tour.

With his tennis career in the rear-view mirror, Thacher’s work on the frontlines has been more than fulfilling for him. He will look to get back in the operating room once normalcy returns.

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