Rockhill Orthopaedic Specialists
Drive, devotion and perseverance
It was with sheer grit, will power, and the love of God and his family, Dr. Jay Rapley was able to accomplish what others thought impossible.
Story by Cheri Woodsmall | Sponsored Content
It was Dr. Rapley’s love of sports that was the true catalyst that led him to love medicine and healing. Being a high school athlete he had several sports-related injuries that came along competing in football, track, basketball, and wrestling. After one of his surgeons invited him to observe an operation, the rest as the say, is history. “I immediately fell in love with surgery and when I watched a knee replacement, I was sold,” expressed Dr. Rapley.
Dr. Rapley went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree in Life Science from Kansas State University, followed by his Doctor of Medicine from KU Med. His residency in orthopedic surgery took him to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas. He then completed two distinguished Fellowships, one in Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine at Plano Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and the other in Foot and Ankle surgery at the University of Missouri, University Hospital and Clinics. While in residency, he was selected as Outstanding Resident of the Year and was awarded several honors for excellence in patient care.
In 2010, he found his home at Rockhill Orthopaedic Specialists on the St. Luke’s East campus in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. “My wife is from Wichita and I was from Kansas City, so we knew we wanted to be close to family when we settled down. I had been looking for that perfect fit and one day got a call from Chuck Burris, Rockhill’s CEO. He told me they were looking for a shoulder guy – so it was a great fit. They’re like family,” reflected Dr. Rapley.
It was this support that helped him through one of the most difficult times in his life. In 2017, while on an early morning walk with a friend, they were hit by a truck. The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. After just 5 months of intensive rehabilitation, Dr. Rapley was practicing medicine again and just a few months later, was in the operating room doing what he loves. His faith in God, and love for family and patients, pushed him to be the absolute best he could be, given the hand he was dealt. (That and a warm sense of humor). In 2019, Dr. Rapley was given the Citizen of the Year Award by Lee’s Summit Mayor Bill Baird as an example of his extraordinary character and conviction. “I was very humbled by the experience and flattered that with all the amazing people in Lee’s Summit, he would pick me for this honor.”
Photo courtesy of (Hands/Sun Photo created by jcomp) Freepik
Unwaivering Faith in the Healing Process
As a life-long Christian, Dr. Rapley is passionate about the power of prayer and healing. “During med school, I attended a lecture on Intercessory Prayer on Outcomes of Hospitalized Patients. They found during this study that the patients who had prayer, did in fact have significantly improved outcomes, even when they didn’t even know that they were being prayed for. So throughout med school, I continued to follow this practice. I thought, of all the things that we do to be good physicians, this is one thing that we need to improve upon and do better at. Therefore, I felt called upon to bring the power of prayer to my patients and God has blessed me with good outcomes in return,” explained Dr. Rapley.
It is in these outcomes, that Dr. Rapley can see the true reason he loves helping his patients. “One of the most incredible parts of my job is to see these injured athletes and patients who think they will never play again or have the life that they had before the injury. On occasion, you have the bonus of watching a patient’s process from injury to healing change their life path. Suddenly they decide, ‘Hey, I want to do this. I want to help people like this.’ It’s pretty amazing,” says Dr. Rapley.
Staying on Top of Cutting-Edge Technology
Staying up to date with current research and technology is a priority to Dr. Rapley and his team at Rockhill Orthopaedic Specialists. The practice has 12 board-certified orthopedic surgeons, three board-certified physiatrists and twelve mid-level providers. Rounding out the staff is a group of 80 caring and compassionate employees. “We have a great team with a diverse practice specialty. The goal of our practice is to work together as a team to provide high-quality orthopedic care to our patients. We are always pushing ourselves and each other to stay up to date on best practices in the profession through published work, medical research, and biomedical technology. As an example, aging, injury, and repetitive wear/tear in the joints can result in lost cartilage. Unlike other tissue, like skin, that heals on its own, cartilage does not regenerate naturally. Without enough cartilage, joints suffer from friction, inflammation, pain and dysfunction. Most people will lose cartilage as they grow older due to normal wear and tear, but cartilage loss or damage can occur at any age. Injury, disease, and repetitive use can destroy cartilage and lead to painful joint conditions. One of the biggest advancements I’ve seen is in cartilage restoration,” explains Dr. Rapley.
Photo courtesy of OrthoInfo-AAOS
MACI (autologous cultured chondrocytes on porcine collagen membrane) is made up of host cells that are expanded and placed onto a film that is implanted into the area of the damaged cartilage and absorbed back into your own tissue. Once implanted into the damaged area, your cells detach from the membrane, combine with proteins in your knee cartilage, and form a durable repair tissue. This durable repair tissue continues to mature over time, filling the defect to regenerate the damaged cartilage. “It’s actually pretty incredible. In conjunction with a physician-prescribed rehabilitation program designed for you, you should begin to experience restored knee function, helping you get back to a normal lifestyle,” says Dr. Rapley.
Finding Time to Play
Of course, it isn’t all work and no play with Dr. Rapley. “In my residency, I was looking for a hobby of some sort and started looking at guitars online and how to build them. I could not find what I was looking for. One day my wife says, ‘Why don’t you just build what you want?’ So, I bought a book and learned how to build them on my own. I had not done too much woodworking up to that point. I built my first guitar, but that was not good enough so I continued to learn more about the process. I always wanted to do something that was better than before – use a new technique or a different way to do something. I also love to play. My oldest two daughters are learning to play, my third daughter sings, and my youngest daughter just asked me to make her a guitar for Christmas. It’s just awesome to have something that the girls enjoy as much as I do.”
Favorite bone?… Humerus.
Favorite surgery?… Labral Repairs of the Shoulder – I love the technical difficulties of it. It challenges me and the outcomes are good.
Music or no music during surgery?… Music, usually 101 The Fox.
Favorite KC Restaurant?… Stuey McBrew’s in Lee’s Summit – It was our go-to burger place over quarantine.
Favorite place to go or thing to do with family?… Water balloon fights.
Chiefs or Royals?… Chiefs!
What was your favorite thing about being quarantined with your family?… Card games and tetherball tournaments.
Favorite musician?… Saul Hudson – AKA Slash, the lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses. Of course now it’s whatever my girls play on repeat.
Favorite Bible Verse?… First chapter of James.