SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Fans of the New Orleans Saints may never have known the excitement of a super bowl win if Drew Brees never sustained an injury to his right shoulder in 2005, which was ultimately repaired by an orthopedic surgeon who grew up in Homer, Louisiana.
Brees said that the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, saved his career.
Andrews, frequently called one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the nation, has also treated Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Roger Clemens, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Lance Moore, Reggie Bush, Barry Zito, Allen Iverson, Andy Pettitte, Bo Jackson, Jack Nicklaus, Brett Favre, Chase Young and Chris Godwin.
Andrews got a preview of a painting created by Homer artist Judy Buckner on Tuesday. Andrews is depicted at multiple stages in his life in the photos. He chuckled at the image of his younger self wearing a Homer High School uniform and a Band-Aid over his eyebrow.
“Let me tell you about that Band-Aid. There’s a story behind that. That happened when I was a sophomore in Homer High School, Andrews said”
The painting of Andrews was presented Tuesday, at the Claiborne Parish Library in Homer, to a crowd of smiling onlookers while Andrews watched from a Zoom call. The images on the canvas followed Andrews’ life from his youth in Homer throughout his career in medicine.
Andrews will be honored as this year’s Legends at the Claiborne’s Best Louisiana Legends Festival on October 22 and the unveiling of the painting is one of the first steps in the process.
Judy Buckner, a studio artist and graduate of both Homer High and Louisiana Tech University, was commissioned to paint the portrait of Andrews.
During the Zoom call, Judy mentioned to Andrews that she wondered why he was pictured in his Homer High School football uniform with a band-aid on his eyebrow.
“I was practicing with the (Homer High School) ironman football team,” Andrews told Buckner. “We only had 18 guys on the team, so we had to practice half a line against half a line.”
Andrews explained that it’s impossible to play a full scrimmage on a small team in practice.
“At that particular practice,” he remembered, “I lined up at left end, and it was sort of half and half, first team verses first team and all the rest—and I was playing all the rest. Ray Wilkins was our main running back, (and he) came right around left and ended around me.”
Ray Wilkins would go on to become a running back for LSU, according to Andrews.
“My job was to block Fred Miller. He (later) played 10 or 12 years for the Baltimore Colts after LSU. We were going downfield, and I was leading the way with Ray, and I just happened to trip and fall with Fred Miller, and he fell over me and Ray went on down the field to score. The coach came running up and said Jimmy, Jimmy, that was a great block! You’re starting on Friday night!”
The story goes that Fred Miller was aggravated because Andrews made him look stupid.
“And he came up and met me on the line of scrimmage with a forearm to the right eye. He got the final word,” Andrews said, laughing.
Dr. James “Jimmy” Andrews was born and raised in Homer, Louisiana, Claiborne Parish, and has been called one of the world’s most celebrated sports surgeons. But the most recently named “Legend” of the Claiborne’s Best Louisiana Legends Festival, which will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown Homer, recently revealed to Homer residents part of the reason he entered the field of sports medicine.
“I think we were playing against Springhill that Friday night, and I got to start. My father was a big football nut, and he was the proudest father out there because I got to start. And that’s where the bandage in the painting came from,” said Andrews. “Dr. Gladney sewed me up that night.”
Dr. Pat Gladney was one of the physicians in the town of Homer in 1957, attending to the needs of the Homer High football team when the “Iron Men” were Louisiana state AA runners-up. Only 71 points were scored against them during the season and their record was 11-2-1.
“He was the one that put the thought of being a team physician into my mind. I wanted to be a team physician like him, and that’s how I got into sports medicine.”
Andrews did, indeed, grow up to have a career in sports medicine, just as he dreamt of doing when he was younger.
Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Centers in Alabama treat some of the most prestigious athletes in the country.