"I kept thinking about other great athletes, and how they stay at such a high level." - Derek Fisher
Derek came to Tom Vachetin Los Angeles in late summer 2005, after nine years in the league and ready to retire. Consecutive injuries had hampered his performance, and he wanted my help in putting together "one last good season".
Tom evaluated Derek, discovered a biomechanical anomaly that was the setup for his injuries, arranged for a therapist to treat him, and followed up with a functional strength training program until he departed for the season.
"Derek played every game, with no injuries, and had the best statistical season of his career."
Tom added a Nutritionist, a Sports Psychologist, and a Massage Therapist to the team. Physical Therapy became an ongoing preventative measure. Wherever Derek went, I had a medical team on standby.
Tom and his team continued to work together for two more seasons, each one the best season of his career. Derek went on to play nine additional years after their first meeting, won two additional World Championships, and never again had an injury.
Donald Suxho was a Four-Time All American from USC, considered the best men's Volleyball Setter in the world. Yet, Team USA abandoned him in 2007 following a ruptured Achilles tendon, thinking his injury would end his career. With Tom Vachet's guidance, he not only he returned to Team USA, but played in the 2012 Olympics.
Lyndsey Berg , considered to be the best female Volleyball Setter in the world, played in three Olympic Games for the United States National Team, winning two silver medals. In 2007, she came to Tom Vachet for his help after tearing the meniscus in her left knee. I managed her through successful surgery and rehabilitation. She returned to her sport, and won her final medal, a Silver Medal, at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Tom Vachet came to Derek Fisher's assistance one more time, but not for him personally.
In the Fall of 2007 Derek had been traded to the Utah Jazz. Tom had moved with his family to Salt Lake City, where he set up a healthcare support team at the University of Utah Medical Center, including a Pediatrician for Derek's eleven-month-old twins, Tatum and Drew.
On their first appointment, on a Thursday, the physician noticed a suspicious glint in Tatum's eye that she suspected might be retinoblastoma, a serious, cancerous tumor of the eye. Derek called Tom Vachet that following the appointment, to alert him that an exam with a pediatric ophthalmologist scheduled the following day.
By Thursday evening, Tom had sent Derek and his wife a package of information, and had located and vetted the top five experts on that particular cancer in the country. One stood out, Dr. David Abrahamson from Sloan-Kettering in New York City, who was recognized as the foremost expert in the world. Tom discovered he had a Clinical Trial for a breakthrough treatment underway.
Tom downloaded and read the Abstract from the National Institutes of Health, and was impressed. Then he called Derek near midnight, and spoke with him about Dr. Abrahamson and his clinical trial. Derek agreed to provide Tom his daughter's Health Care Power of Attorney, and early Friday morning Tom called the doctor's office in New York City. His staff located him, and they spoke for over an hour. With Derek's permission, Tom made the call to schedule an appointment for the following Monday.
Tom shared the information with Derek, told him that no matter the outcome of the Friday appointment, Tatum should be seen in New York. At the conclusion of the consult the next day, the ophthalmologist recommended Tatum's eye should be removed immediately, stating with authority, this was the only effective procedure available.
"Tom told the doctor thank you for the consult, but
the answer to the request for surgery was no"
Tom traveled to New York the following Sunday, and Tatum was seen in clinic on Monday. She was accepted in the Clinical Trial, and received treatment, an intra-arterial infusion of chemotherapy, on Tuesday. Tom scrubbed in for the procedure, and was by her side throughout, and in recovery afterward. After one follow-up treatment three months later, the cancer was cured. Throughout the experience, Tom managed all her care. She retained her eye and partial vision, and today is cancer free.
Chester Bennington, front man for the band, Linkin Park, was referred to Tom Vachet in 2007. He had a history of injuries due to his athletic approach to his on-stage performance. The latest was a rotator cuff injury to his shoulder. Tom created a treatment plan that avoided surgery, and implications that would have on a concert tour, and Chester had a good outcome. For the next three years, Tom was on contract to Chester on an "as-needed" basis, and met with him at home, in the recording studio, and at concert venues. The two became close, and Tom misses his presence to this day.