Stanley L. James, 53BA, 62MD, 67R, is a widely respected innovator in the field of orthopedics whose work has transformed the world of sports medicine, influencing generations of athletes and doctors.
The Iowa City native earned a bachelor's degree in 1953 and a medical degree in 1962 at the University of Iowa before completing his residency in orthopedics at the UI in 1967. During his Iowa tenure, James collaborated with Dr. Charles Tipton on cutting-edge research that demonstrated how the mechanical loading of ligament injuries increased the strength and rate of healing.
He presented their seminal finding at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Sports Medicine Conference in 1968—where it was met with considerable skepticism. However, within a few years, James's research would earn the recognition it deserved, and he would be well on his way to becoming one of the most highly regarded experts in orthopedic sports medicine.
To further a longstanding interest in the mechanics of running and gait analysis, James moved to Eugene, Oregon, in 1967 to join Dr. Donald Slocum, one of the nation's "fathers of sports medicine." There, over the next four decades, he conducted a series of clinical studies that changed the way doctors treat runners with injuries. Now a courtesy professor in the University of Oregon's Department of Human Physiology, James also played a leading role in establishing the school's Biomechanics/Sports Medicine Laboratory.
Early in his career, James developed a close relationship with Bill Bowerman, one of the founders of NIKE and legendary University of Oregon track coach. He and Bowerman worked together to improve the design of running shoes, and James served as a formal research consultant for the company from 1976 to 1983. He was also the medical director for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene in 1976, 1980, and 2008, and he served as a medical and research consultant for many organizations, including the U.S. Nordic ski team, the National Korean Sports Program, and the University of Oregon track team.
James's work has helped Eugene earn a reputation as the epicenter of track-and-field competition and expertise. In fact, the world's elite athletes have traveled to his clinic to benefit from his patient care and surgical talents, particularly as they pertain to knee and running-related conditions, and he has shared his insights at numerous national and international medical meetings. James has also received considerable applause in popular magazines, such as Sports Illustrated, Time, Esquire, Discover, and Track & Field News.
Kenneth M. Singer, a physician from Oregon's Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, wrote of James, "The hallmark of every aspect of Dr. James's career has been excellence. His extremely high standards carry over into every aspect of his life, both personal and professional. He is a superb surgeon and excellent researcher, an exemplary teacher, and an accomplished athlete himself, having competed in very high-level Nordic ski racing."
Throughout this illustrious career, Stanley L. James has been an undeniable trailblazer in his field and his breakthroughs have left an indelible mark on the safe pursuit of sport.
James is a member of the UI Alumni Association's Old Capitol Club.