June 27, 2020
By Fred Liggett
Sporting Kansas City players face a demanding nine-month season as they play to win a MLS Cup for the franchise and its loyal fanbase. Keeping the players in the game and off the sidelines is a doctor based in Lee’s Summit.
Dr. Scott Luallin, who works out of TMC-Lakewood in Lee’s Summit, serves the team as its Chief Medical Officer. Luallin has been with the Sporting KC franchise since its inception in 1996. Luallin started his local practice after serving a fellowship at Harvard University.
The highly respected doctor got started working with Sporting Kansas City back when they were known as the Kansas City Wizards. Luallin was part of a group at St. Joseph’s Hospital that was led at the time by Gordon Docking the former Fox 4 sportscaster. Luallin says, “Docking approached the team and they selected us.”
Luallin says, “it’s remarkable how far they have come.” Luallin feels Lamar Hunt and his group, who were the original owners of the franchise, “Did a nice job getting started.”
One of the biggest changes the doctor has seen since 1996 has been with the team’s facilities. The training center the team uses now in 2020 continues to impress Dr. Luallin who finds the team “Keeps expanding” what the medical group gets to use to carry out their work. Biggest change came last year when Pinnacle, a state of the art sports medicine center, opened its doors.
Fans enjoy watching Sporting KC players win games and Dr. Luallin finds the players “Enjoyable to work with and are very approachable.” Luallin says he has an appreciation of the high level of talent of the players and especially the ones who continue to elevate the game.
Luallin is now a big soccer fan but never played the game as a youngster. The respect the doctor has for the players and staff at Sporting KC is returned by the team’s manager and sporting director Peter Vermes. Vermes says of Luallin, “When you talk about Dr. Luallin, you talk about some things that are keys to his success and the first I’ll start with is longevity.” Vermes feels Luallin is “very consistent, very easy to work with and he has been excellent at what he does.”
The types of injuries the players suffer now are pretty similar to the ones back when Luallin started with the team. The treatments are different thanks to many of them now are less invasive. Fans may not know that home team physicians cover both teams at games so they can become pretty busy at times. For injuries at practice the players are first in touch with a trainer.
Luallin feels the soccer community is a close knit group. He feels he has benefitted from the community who knows he has seen and treated professional athletes. Luallin adds, “word of mouth helps result in seeing more athletes and their injuries.” The next time Sporting Kansas City wins an important match in a step towards a Major League Soccer championship a Lee’s Summit connection may have played a crucial role in the outcome.