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January 24, 2022 - TCO

Meet TCO’s Sports Medicine Fellows: Dr. Daniel Liechti & Dr. Phillip Thomas

TCO is proud to welcome our newest Sports Medicine Fellows, Dr. Daniel Liechti and Dr. Phillip Thomas. Throughout the year, they will learn valuable skills in clinic and surgical settings. They will also have the opportunity to serve alongside team physicians for local high schools, colleges, and aid in taking care of professional athletes and other world-class competitors.

About Dr. Liechti

Dr. Liechti grew up in Batavia, Illinois and attended college at the University of Iowa, where he ran cross country and track. He graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree in Biomedical Engineering, then attended medical school at the University of Illinois and completed a general surgery internship at the University of Texas at Houston.

Dr. Liechti went on to complete his orthopedic surgery residency at West Virginia University. In his free time, he likes to golf, travel, snowboard, and watch Chicago/Hawkeye sports.

About Dr. Thomas

Dr. Thomas grew up on a farm in Hastings, MN with 60+ horses. He attended Saint Mary’s University and received a BA in Cytogenetic Technology in 2010.  He then continued his studies by attending medical school at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Thomas called Omaha, Nebraska his home for five years while completing his orthopedic surgery residency. In his free time, he likes to exercise, read, and play with his 3-year-old son and 1-year-old twins (boy and girl).

To learn more about Dr. Liechti, Dr. Thomas, and their experiences as Sports Medicine Fellows, check out the Q&A below.


Q: What made you want to pursue a career in medicine?

Dr. Liechti: Competing in cross country and track and field while in college landed me in the orthopedic office due to a couple of stress fractures. One time, I asked to shadow one of the physicians. When I saw the surgical procedures and the immediate, direct impact they had on patients, I was hooked.

Dr. Thomas: I always had a passion and inclination for the sciences, but medicine wasn’t even on my radar until late in college. Growing up, I had several orthopedic surgeries throughout my participation in sports, and I eventually shadowed a few surgeons in college. I also was immediately hooked. I love the technical challenge of orthopedics, and the fact that you can build relationships with patients and restore their quality of life.

Q: Why did you apply for the TCO Fellowship program?

Dr. Liechti: TCO is home to several world-class physicians. Not only are they at the top of their field technically, but they are also doing cutting-edge research in orthopedic surgery. In some cases, this research is setting the standard of care for other surgeons around the country. I am excited to have the opportunity to help provide care to athletes at every level, from high school to professional.

Dr. Thomas: TCO has such an impressive and powerful presence in the Twin Cities, so it was an easy choice for my number one fellowship program. My wife and I love the area and couldn’t be more excited to be back home! With so many world-renowned faculty members, I’m honored and so fortunate to have the opportunity to follow and learn from them over the next year.

Q: What are you looking forward to as part of the program?

Dr. Liechti: Honestly, everything. From the operating room to the sidelines for football, I can’t wait for what this year brings. On top of that, I am excited to be back in the Midwest and hope to become part of the community in the Twin Cities.

Dr. Thomas: I was able to cover some high school football and various sporting events in residency, but I’m really looking forward to even more of that this year with Twin Cities Orthopedics. I love working with skilled athletic trainers, coaches, schools and especially athletes. Also, as fellows, TCO allows us amazing insight on how to manage and scale a thriving private practice. All of the surgeons are incredibly efficient and gifted at what they do. Everyone loves to work with them, and it seems like everyone at TCO is happy to be part of such a great team!

Q: What’s one interesting thing you’ve already learned about TCO?

Dr. Liechti: TCO is one of the largest privately-owned orthopedic practices in the country. In today’s environment of large hospital systems and university medicine, it is exciting that a group like this can not only exist, but flourish to provide efficient and cost-effective health care for the community it serves.

Dr. Thomas: It has been so interesting to learn how each individual surgeon runs their own practice under the umbrella of TCO, but there is still a significant amount of collaboration, support, and work within the group.

Q: Outside of orthopedics and medicine, what are your hobbies/interests?

Dr. Liechti: I like to stay active, just like our patients. In my free time, you can find me working out, running, golfing, playing ultimate frisbee, and just spending as much time outside as possible. I also like to travel, especially if it is to go cheer on Chicago or Hawkeye sports.

Dr. Thomas: Reading for pleasure has always been a passion of mine. Exercise helps keep me centered and energized also. However, a large portion of my time is occupied by my wonderful wife and three children! We have a three-year-old boy and one-year-old twins who certainly keep us busy.

About the Fellowship

The TCO Sports Medicine Fellowship program provides extensive training in musculoskeletal clinical experiences and surgical procedures.

The faculty is composed of orthopedic sports medicine and team physicians working in collaboration with one another and with our medical partners in the office, in the training room, on the playing field and in an educational setting, with a commitment to the pursuit of clinical excellence. Education and research are integral to the commitment.

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