Knoxville — It didn't take long for Knoxville doctor Kevin Sprouse's sixth year at the Tour de France to become eventful.
During Stage 1, Lawson Craddock crashed and broke his shoulder. As head of medicine for the EF Education First Drapac powered by Cannondale cycling team, Sprouse was tasked with overseeing Craddock's recovery.
"If it was you or me and we didn't have to ride another 2,000 miles over the next three weeks, you would kind of put in a sling, take some pain medicine and give it time," Sprouse said.
Sprouse cleared Craddock to continue in competition. In addition to massage therapy and chiropractic work, Craddock was treated with Tylenol and ibuprofen.
"One question that I got asked a lot while I was over in France was 'what are you using to treat him' and that was Tylenol and ibuprofen," Sprouse said. "People say 'No, really, what are you using,' And I say Tylenol and ibuprofen. There's a couple of reasons why. First and foremost, it's the right thing to use."
Though Craddock returned to the race in no shape to compete for the yellow jersey, he dedicated the rest of the three week journey to fundraising for a velodrome in his hometown of Houston that was hit by hurricane Harvey. He started by pledging to donate $100 for each stage he completed in the race after his injury. The fundraiser how now raised more than $260,000.
"I think that rubbed off on the whole staff and the other riders to say, ok you can have these detrimental things happen, but it's all in how you view them," Sprouse said.
The EF Education First Drapac powered by Cannondale team did not win make the podium at the Tour de France, but Sprouse says this year's race taught lessons that transcend the world of professional sports.
"A lot of time we write ourselves off when bad things happen, and if you change your mentality and maybe change some of the advice you're getting, I think you can do a lot more than you think you'll be able to," Sprouse said.