The Sports Doctor: Remembering Robin Williams
It was 2009 when I met Robin Williams as he was filming "Old Dogs" with John Travolta and Seth Green. A Hollywood studio group turned the old Swank factory in Norwalk into a studio. The fact that he was a winner of a Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album and one of the world's biggest comedy stars had nothing to do with our discussions.
He had been referred to our office for consultation. We were both all about exercise and sports. He noticed and was pleased that I was residency trained at a children's hospital in Philadelphia. Robin had an interest in children. It was mentioned that my residency was at the James C. Giuffre Medical Center (formally St. Luke's and Children Medical Center).
At that time Dr. Giuffre was the "surgeon to the stars," as well as Joe Frazier's doctor. It was the first heavyweight championship boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Frazier -- also known as the fight of the century. Robin said to me: "You were with the heavyweights" and I replied that now I'm with the real heavy weight of all time -- the best of the best. He smiled and said thank you, a very gracious gentleman.
Robin Williams was known to be a jogger who took daily jogs across the Golden Gate Bridge, yet his true passion was cycling. We talked about biomechanics in sports. He was extremely bright and in tune with the world's problems and its stresses.
We both agreed that by overworking the anxiety type of stress against the positive stress of exercise, a good feeling can be produced. I lost contact with him after his heart surgery, but had told him that he made the world a better place, as he made people laugh and spread happiness and healing.