Dr. Milt McColl, former NFL LB
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He also got a medical degree while he was playing in the NFL at Stanford where he was also an undergraduate class of nineteen eighty med school class of nineteen eighty nine. I believe but did not practice medicine until very recently. He decided in his fifties that he would get out of the biotech industry and the venture capital business in which he had used his medical degree but never done his residency and decided that he would instead practice medicine. working as a family physician mostly with disadvantage patients and went to do his residency in his fifties his now a family practitioner in California. And Dr McCall joins us. Now Dr McCall. Thank you for being with us. Jeremy a great to have all that. Did I get that right? I think I got it right all the numbers and everything pretty much right impressed. Yeah it's hard to keep track of my. My career has gone so many different directions. It's hard to keep track of it myself. Sometimes peripatetic would be one way I guess to put it your Stanford guys so I'm trying to use as many big words as possible Why did you decide in your mid fifty s you wanted to change direction? So I've been very fortunate. I mean first of all just to to play in the NFL. And of course I got very lucky times. I should say or good times during the forty niners kind of era during the during the eighties when we won while they went ended up winning five super bowls in that stretch between bill. Walsh and George Siefert And I was fortunate to come in as a free agent the very first year. We wondered my rookie year. We went our first super bowl and then another one a couple of years later I was fortunate. Also that Stanford allowed me to go to medical school while I was playing football during that entire time so ended up with my medical degree and my license And then I decided to just take some time off to help get involved with the medical device company. I was GONNA take one. You're often that one year literally turned into twenty plus years in the end I went into the medical device business and into venture capital eventually but as it kind of approaching my fifties. I just realized I I really missed being a doctor and being medicine so I went back and started volunteering in San Francisco At a at a free clinic there and I just realized how how enjoyable how much satisfaction I had treating. People basically had much more disadvantaged than than we were and So in the end I was doing it like one day a month. Just for really for my edification as much as there's and realize I just didn't know as much medicine any to know so I went back and talk to Stanford about doing a residency so I ended up doing that. We're speaking with milt McColl. Who Played Linebacker in the NFL? For Nine seasons won two super bowls with the San Francisco Forty niners and got his medical degree more than thirty years ago. Was there anybody else doing a residency? At that time. Who was close to your age group? Not Quite are they. Were all my kids age so we would be up. I mean it was being an intern again. In medicine in your mid fifties was was a was a challenge. We'd be up all night long. We'd have twenty four hour shifts and I'd be sitting up at three in the morning and little cubicle with Usually two other residents and they were all my kids age and I was asking them questions a lot about what's going on 'cause they were way smarter than I was would suffer training camp for Bill Walsh residency. You know those are completely different. Things are training camp was out in the middle of the desert in California and a place near Sacramento which was one hundred and ten degrees during the day. We we live the old ways of training And we were completely secluded so but it was a great feeling. I mean you had a lot of fun going to training camp. It was hard work but it was also a lot of fun in the evenings and things so And the same thing with resin so you really develop a relationship with people and I had the most incredible residents that That I worked with and they taught me so much and my my attending I was just so fortunate was three of the best years of my life. I have to say way more interesting to do it in your fifties and win and you're in your twenties and correct me if I'm wrong milt but there's kind of an extraordinary a lineage. As well your father was also a professional football player and a physician and my correct. Yeah My dad played for George. Halas with the bears for eight years during the fifties and He was he was a great football player. He was number four in the heisman voting when he was at Stanford and he was very fortunate. He did the same thing. Here's the one that showed me. You could go to medical school. He actually did three years of his orthopedic residency while he was still playing. But at that time. Football was different. The bears actually scheduled their practices around him and his medical work so he could get to his labs and things. I didn't think Bill Walsh was would have been really interested in doing that for me while I was playing. Well I mean obviously the mccalls are underachievers. You don't push yourself very hard. Well you'll when you made the decision to go into medical device. I said biotech earlier not biotech medical devices for longtime well. What were you doing in the medical device industry for all those years so actually one of my companies was a biotech company. So it's it's it's it's kind of. Yeah it's it's a crossover there kind of blend itself in but I was. I started off as a medical director. I did a lot of the clinical studies and clinical trials F. D. approvals actually had to go in front of the FDA and present a product that got approved by the FDA years ago And then as I kind of my career went along ended up being Senior executives. I was president of a division for Boston. Scientific and did that for about six or seven years and then just decided to go on the investment side and look at a lot of. I've been in a lot of small startup companies before and so give me a chance to sort of decide. We're we're should we invest money where we think we can make money and what what needs really exist out there in the medical world? So that's what I did. What did your what are your dad. Think about your idea. And he's still he's still with us. He's ninety years old. What what did he think? When you told them you were GonNa go do your residency finally after all these years. Yeah so you know. My Dad is a ninety years old as you mentioned. He's still in great health or living down in southern California right now and you know. I think he was as support as I would have expected. I mean he I think he enjoyed being a doctor for his. He was a doctor for for forty years as a as an orthopedic surgeon and You know he always supported me when I told him to go into. I was going to go into business. He was a very big supporter of mine. Saying I think medicine's changing. It's not going to be like it was when I was practicing He had a private practice for many years. He was on call every day every night. And then you know for me. I don't I don't really want to do with the business side of medicine I just WanNa treat patients and so things have changed a lot and I work at the county hospital. Jeff Smith is the county executive where I work. It's been incredible what they've done around the Corona Virus Santa Clara County. Yeah Santa Clara County and we were the very first case in the first death in the United States yet we have had very few current deaths and very few krona cases surprisingly considering we were so early on and I think it was the you know Jeff Smith and the rest of the whole county doors very quick and reacting and I just saw steady came out of Columbia yesterday. It said they thought that probably at least tens of thousands of deaths would have occurred in the United States if we had sheltered in place even one week earlier and I think we were at the very beginning. We were the very first counties all in San Francisco San Jose that put shelter in place immediately. And it's had a huge impact because we've had very few deaths center area and I compliment our our group for doing that. We're speaking with Dr Miller. Call two time superbowl champion practicing family practitioner. That makes sense in Santa Clara County. And what's it like going to work now in this environment when there's still so much that's unknown about About the disease the way it's transmitted and the way the way people react to it. Yeah so I'm I'm after I finished my residency. I went to work at county hospital. Which is Santa Clara Valley Medical Center? It's a right in San Jose We treat pretty much. A lot of Medicaid Medicare patients. Most of them are indigent We're very fortunate in that. Our patients Really appreciate their doctors and I think that's why I decided to come to do this. I do primary care work in family medicine so I see you know all range of patients from one day old to one hundred days old one hundred years old And and we do. I mean obviously the coronavirus has been something we've had to deal with in our own county and of course like I said we were one of the very first To establish that. I'd say the one thing that has changed we've moved from like many places now too much more telemedicine where we're doing phone calls and video visits. In fact I spend a lot of my time. I only go in the office now about once a week and I do the rest of the calls from home But that's usually enough and we're GONNA try to get our patients slowly coming back in seeing them but most of the time we've been trying to do everything virtually as much as we can just to just to. Sorta keep the shelter in place as long as we can email you that the only physician from those great forty niners teams in the Nineteen Eighty S. A in fact I got your number as you know but our audience is not from John. Frank the excellent tight end. Who played for those teams who who also then Went to medical school and became a practice but very different kind of medicine. John Frank Practices. Now Right Yeah Johnson N. or I mean yeah and he does a lot of hair transplant. I think he's a world renowned John. We're great friends we We we had medicine to talk about Together on the team. In fact at one time there was three of us on the team that we're all doctors got Jim Kovach whose Since gone into yeah I became a head a lot. I'd agree as well as a medical degree and so at one time we actually had three physicians on the team But John's a a great friend. I still keep in touch with them when I get out to New York. But he's he's. He's found a niche in his area And become world classes. A hair transplant Doctor I told him I might need them someday. I think I've okay now. It's Kinda thinning on top. I think I've seen some pictures of you. If you considered you know seeing Dr Frank only call him only do that if they give me a discount still won't give me a discounts. I'm waiting on the expensive from what I understand. We're speaking with Dr. Milt McCall who played on those teams arguably the greatest team ever the nineteen eighty s San Francisco. Forty niners teammate. Roger Craig on the show a few weeks ago it kind of made a little bit of news which is in typically what happens on the show. Because I don't even remember how it came up. But he kind of went out of his way to say that he thought Tom Brady was the greatest player ever. I'm not GonNa put you on the spot and ask you the same question. But he said that. But I start thinking about it and Jerry Kramer for the packers is my godfather. I grew up. You know kind of all those guys because my father's relationship with with the Lombardi teams and you know you talk about those Lombardi's packers you talk about the wall. Seaford forty niners it. Of course you talk about the Belichick and Brady Patriots and if you say dynasty to me you kind of have to you kind of have to give it to the Patriots. They won six. They played in nine but to me. It's a different question. This might be splitting hairs. It's not the greatest team because that's over the course of like seventeen years. Those are several different teams. And you guys for the most part. Were really one cohesive team except for that fifth super bowl which is a different cast of characters in a different quarterback under under Steve Young. So to me when you talk about team it's kind of those those eighties niners in the sixties packers and the Patriots several teams. That all happen to have just a coach in a quarterback in common. How do you feel about that question? You know it's so hard to compare against decades. I mean you can really only compare yourself against the people that you played against your era because things change the rules change even since since we were playing so you know. There's no question during the during the eighties. The forty niners were the dominant team. There's no question right now that the packer or the Patriots were certainly in their era. Where were the dominant team? I think you know there were times. The the raiders were in the same game the the the Dallas cowboys had their era of the Pittsburgh steelers people have their errors just like the Green Bay packers. But I think you can only compare yourself into those areas and and who's the greatest player of all time? Well it's going to be hard to say because they're never gonNA play each other but I mean obviously Tom. Brady is just a great quarterback. It's just fun to watch him. And the same is true of Montana. You just knew in Montana had the ball near the end of the game. We're GONNA win it. Just there was just no question. People's mind all right so so answer this for me melted. I should know the answer this but I've never really looked into. Maybe he was. How did Tom Brady end up at Michigan? Why did he ended up at Stanford what happened? What happened to the Cardinal? What I WANNA know how come. Nobody drafted him sooner that I really wanted into forty nine hundred drafted in the fifth round. That's very close. Who who's to say that just tells you how much the NFL draft. You just can't tell what players are like in high school and college so I mean I never got drafted. Nobody would have ever guessed. I would've played in the NFL for eight years. And I did so. There's just things happen in the game. A lot of. It's a little bit of luck. I I got fortunate. The guy in front of me got injured and then when he gets injured. I got all the plays and got. I learned and got better. It's just like medicine. The more you do the better. You get like a surgeon. The two time superbowl champion. The family practitioner in Santa Clara County remarkable career in the second one is just getting well third. When I guess I should say is just getting started milk. Thanks so much for joining us. Take care thanks so much. I'm Jeremy Shop and you can listen to new editions of the sporting life every Saturday and Sunday morning on ESPN radio and the ESPN APP. Beginning at six am eastern time.