The year is 1996, and the Georgia Dome is buzzing. Fans and athletes from around the world have migrated to Atlanta and the Summer Olympics for the opportunity of a lifetime.
This was the case for Mark W. Hollmann, M.D., University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville alumnus.
Sports have been part of Hollmann’s entire career. He played college basketball at Southern Methodist University during the 1979-80 season before becoming the team physician for Stetson University athletics in 1991. Between these stops, Hollmann completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville.
“It was always one of my top choices,” said Hollmann, who trained from 1985 through 1990 at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “UF Health in Gainesville didn’t have a trauma program at the time, so they sent their chief resident to Jacksonville, which was an exciting learning opportunity.”
The UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville prepared Hollmann for practicing sports medicine. His training took the former college basketball player on Interstate 95 to DeLand. He started by completing hip and knee surgeries on Stetson Hatters student-athletes. At the same time, he became the assistant to the team physician for the Orlando Magic basketball team. Both experiences made him the perfect candidate to treat the United States’ most talented athletes at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
“I was asked about the Olympics in Atlanta about a year in advance,” Hollmann said. “Team USA wanted physicians that had worked with college and professional athletes, so the opportunity was a good fit.”
Hollmann was first appointed to the United States men’s basketball team. He was surrounded by 11 future Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame players, including Orlando Magic center Shaquille O’Neal and Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen. He later learned he would be one of two physicians covering the United States women’s basketball team as well.
“We were there for two weeks as volunteers,” Hollmann recalled. “We often worked from 10 in the morning until midnight.”
The position was rewarding. Hollmann was a part of two gold medal teams – both United States men’s and women’s basketball dominated their competition in 1996.
Hollmann has passed on his University of Florida roots to his daughter. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in political science. As for him, he hasn’t wandered too far away from the field of competition. With the Florida Orthopaedic Associates, he still works with Stetson University student-athletes and often consults local high schools in Central Florida. Hollmann looks forward to returning to the Jacksonville campus for a visit soon.