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Dr. Sutterer is a 4th year physical medicine and rehabilitation resident physician and will begin a sports medicine fellowship this summer. He is also a YouTuber with nearly 450,000 subscribers on his channel where he provides educational videos about sports medicine and injury analysis. You’ll want to listen if you’d like to hear about his experience starting a YouTube channel focused on sports medicine, his opinion on performance enhancing drugs and how physicians should think about them, and how he makes his videos while also being a full time resident physician of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 

Podcast Episode Summary

  • How I first got introduced to Dr. Sutterer’s content, and how he gets his YouTube content out so quickly (hint: it’s years of doing the same kinds of video each day) [02:37]
    • He’s been in the YouTube game for about 3 years, and it took him 5 hours to do the first video. But now, he’s more ready to make the video. 
    • Basically, the quicker you are able to do something on YouTube, the more clicks that you can get when you are making the video. So, there is an incentive for him to make it as plug-and-play as possible. 
  • What is the video which made him pivot into sports after making medical school based videos? [04:15]
    • He was interested in sports, and teaching, and he saw that they weren’t making the right calls on ESPN and were talking about it weirdly. So, he decided to make a new way to appreciate sports by making a video about it (Markelle Fultz being diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndome — it got 50K views) 
    • Then, he asks which video I saw that made me a fan (it was a UFC one about Adesanya’s kicks)
  • How do you decide which videos to make or which situations to just comment on via your Twitter? [06:30] 
    • It has to be visual and it has to be teachable. There is a visual appeal that could be a thumbnail (“You’re coming to watch sports and now you’re going to learn! I tricked you!”)
    • Which videos perform the best? Which sports are more YouTube friendly? [10:08] 
    • It depends on the platform, which ones are on YouTube. There is a small baseball audience on YouTube, but there is a high NBA fanbase in sports. 
  • What’s the most interesting video to you (the one you’ve put the most work into) versus the one that performed the best [13:52] 
    • The most learning that he did was for a video where he looked at the Jump Power for NBA players, and Charles Barkley’s golf swing
    • This wasn’t anything that people were searching for, but it was fun for him. Some things that people do should just be for them if they are doing it outside of their career. 
  • What are the the biggest failure that you had in medicine [16:08]
    • One of the biggest failures that he had was the failure of not getting into medical school. 
  • What pieces of content impacted your life, like books or podcasts? [18:35]
    • He’s a big fan of podcasts like Hardcore History and the Lex Freedman Podcast
    • When sports are offseason, is there a low amount of growth and views? [21:35]
    • It gives him a chance to make videos about things that aren’t coverable when there aren’t injuries or other sports analyses-type videos. He is thinking of covering nutrition, biomechanics, and other aspects of sports during this summer, when he can explore more of that side of medicine. 
  • What role should physicians play in the growth of performance enhancing or recovery enhancing substances [23:30]
    • It’s definitely going to have a big role in the future. It wouldn’t surprise him if we are using different substances in 10 years for ACL tears, etc. However, the line becomes a little blurry when we are talking about healing versus performance enhancing substances. There is a very fine line between unfairly enhancing and recovery. If it came into the sports community, then it should be used in the outside community as well. 
  • How should doctors deal with the lack of access for athletes at Junior Colleges versus Professional athletes [30:00]
    • What’s reassuring for us as physicians is that when truly something needs to be done, it gets done. If you contacted a surgeon and had them put the patient on their list, it will get done. Most of the time, however, people are doing pre-rehab and they don’t need to have surgery right away. The system is built in a way in that if they need to get stuff done, it will. Money helps a lot in those cases however and can really move the needle in terms of how fast a procedure can be done (big professional teams have access to good doctors).
  • How did you come to the decision of coming to PM&R [33:37]
    • If your goal is to do something, you just need to go through the process and “Trust the process.” People have done the same thing hundreds of thousands of times before you. You can do it as well. Therefore, if I wanted to do sports medicine fellowship, I just convinced myself that I could do it as well. 
    • He googled a “Best Kept Secrets in Medicine” thread and landed on PM&R as a specialty and has never looked back from that fateful day. 
  • How do you deal with social media fame? Where do you see this taking you? [36:58]
    • He cringed when I called him a medical influencer, and would rather be called a medical communicator. I want to break the stereotype of cringy YouTuber, and his immediate goal is finishing fellowship. 
    • Then, he wants to legitimize himself by showing himself on legacy media sources (like ESPN). He never wants to stop practicing medicine, and keep teaching people. 
  • What are you excited about covering over the next few months? [41:31]
    • I’m looking forward to new sports to teach people about. I want a new challenge to learn about the biomechanics of swimming, soccer, and other sports. 

The Hot Seat

  • What do you see happening with this podcast, and in five years, what would make it successful for you? [43:54]

Quotes

“When I first started on YouTube, I wanted to start big. But my wife convinced me to start small. Along the way, when she saw that I was getting so into it, I showed her that this really meant a lot to me and therefore she was more willing to upgrade the internet, get a new camera, and more.” 

“Some of my favorite comments [on YouTube] are when someone says ‘I only came to see the highlight and here I am learning all of this stuff.’” 

“Genuinely, at our core, I think we are all curious people. They might not care about medicine, but we are curious beings and they will stay if I say, ‘Let’s talk about it’ after I show them the highlight.” 

“I’m a big believer in consuming content outside your expertise. When you’re consuming content that you’re not particularly good at, it stimulates this curious part of your brain. That’s why I love listening to podcasts outside my field of expertise. When you come across something else than your field, it is freeing and eye opening to see a whole other side of the world I might not have exposure to.” 

“You hear of a professional athlete who gets an MRI in a couple of hours, while you hear of a person who takes two weeks to get an MRI. It’s tough.” 

“When I didn’t get into medical school, I was crushed. A mentor told me, well, what do you need to do today to get you there? A week from now? A year from now? Five years from now?” 

“I see YouTube as a classroom. I see it as a personal classroom. I didn’t know that learning could be fun. If I can make other people see learning as fun, then it is better all around.” 

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