Doctor to Olympic athletes dies in fall from horse

Doctor to Olympic athletes dies in fall from horse (Image 1)

A well-known Nashville surgeon is being remembered as a “humanitarian” who touched people worldwide.

Dr. Craig Ferrell died Monday of neck and spinal injuries suffered in a fall from his horse during a polo match last week near his home in Franklin.

“It is somewhat ironic [that he died of injuries he specialized in], but he has made a lot of advances and bettered things for all of us,” said close friend and fellow Vanderbilt University Medical Center doctor Herbert Schwartz.

Dr. Ferrell's long list of accomplishments included being team physician for several Olympic swimming and equestrian teams, including the one scheduled to compete this summer in London.

“Someone like that comes along very seldom and really is not replaceable. It's a tremendous loss, a tragedy,” said Dr. Schwartz, who knew his fellow physician for 25-years.

Sixty-two-year-old Ferrell founded the Vanderbilt Bone and Joint Clinic in Franklin and just last month was given a distinguished service award from the Tennessee Medical Association for his orthopedic work.

Ferrell was considered a guiding force for the handicapped education center called BrightStone located in Franklin.

He was cited in a 2008 video from BrightStone for being a “think on your feet, hit the ground running board member.”

Dr. Schwartz called his colleague an “icon” who “made everyone around him feel important and comfortable.”

Those who knew him said Dr. Ferrell was typically modest about his accomplishments.

In a video where he received an Equestrian Hero Award in January, Dr. Ferrell said, “I feel like I don't deserve this, I am just trying to do what I ought to do.”

Ferrell's funeral is set for 2 p.m. Thursday at the Cathedral of the Incarnation on West End Avenue in Nashville.

His family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to BrightStone.

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