PSU Alum Returns Home to Join Freeman Orthopaedics

Dr. Ryan Sorell Brings Primary Care Elements to Sports Medicine

(Joplin, MO)Freeman Health System welcomes Ryan Sorell, MD, to Freeman Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Pittsburg.

“Coming to Freeman is coming home,” said Dr. Sorell. “I went to Pittsburg State University, and my wife and her family are from Baxter Springs, Kansas. This was not only an opportunity to come home but also to work with Dr. Michael Zafuta, who I shadowed as a student.”

A pitcher for the baseball team during his college career, Dr. Sorell tore a ligament in his elbow his junior year. He needed Tommy John surgery, which is done to repair a torn ligament inside the elbow. Dr. Michael Zafuta, Freeman orthopaedic surgeon, did the operation, and Dr. Sorell was back in the game.

“Dr. Zafuta was one of my earliest influences,” said Dr. Sorell. “It’s exciting to be working with someone I look up to and joining him to grow a more comprehensive sports medicine program from the primary care standpoint. I think the sky’s the limit for what we can build as a model for sports medicine and a team approach.”

Dr. Sorell was a biochemistry major but knew he always wanted to work with athletes. He decided medicine was the route for him. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Dr. Sorell completed his residency in family medicine at St. Joseph Health System in Mishawaka, Indiana. He completed a fellowship in primary care and sports medicine with the University of Arkansas for Medica Sciences (UAMS) in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

“There’s a lot more medicine that goes into caring for athletes and individuals than muscles and bones,” said Dr. Sorell. “It’s more than just when they get hurt. It’s important to factor in nutrition, training, evaluating and being fit so you don’t get hurt. That’s where I can fill a gap. I can see the patient as a whole instead of a specific sports injury. I look at all aspects of who they are as a person and what that contributes to causing injuries in order to prevent them and help them recover.”

As a primary care and sports medicine physician, Dr. Sorell will provide comprehensive preventative services such as health screenings and management of long-term conditions, as well as treating sprains, fractures, muscle and joint issues, and other orthopaedic issues that do not require surgery. He is excited about regenerative medicine, such as platelet rich plasma (PRP), which uses the body’s own natural healing growth factors. He will also serve as an assistant team physician to PSU athletes along with Dr. Zafuta.

“I think working with the collegiate athlete is fun,” said Dr. Sorell. “I remember being in high school and looking at these college athletes and being in awe of them. Now, I’m on the other side of it – helping someone who’s going through an injury and still trying to achieve their goals. When you can be someone who can help them turn a corner or get back on track after they have had a setback, it is really fun. I know it made a big impact on me after my elbow surgery. I got a second chance and to be able to give that to others is really cool.”

Dr. Sorell lives in Pittsburg with his wife, Megan, and their three children, Neely, Nolan and Marlee, who keep their parents busy at soccer fields and at basketball courts.  They love to spend time outdoors together hiking and staying active as a family.

Dr. Sorell is accepting new patients. Appointments can be made by contacting Freeman Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Pittsburg, 100 N. Pine, at 620.308.7245.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020-2021. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit


Lisa Olliges, Freeman Health System
Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator

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