When it comes to medicine and sports, Dr. Michael J. Scott Jr. is as serious as one can get. For more than half a century, Scott skillfully worked both into his vocational pursuits, and by doing so he has been chosen to receive a 2015 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) by the United States Sports Academy.
The DSA is given annually to those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to national or international sport through education, research or service. Each nominee must possess an extensive background in sport, which means that the individual must have had significant dealings in instruction, research or service in sport for more than 10 years.
Born in Butte, Mont., to a father who was a surgeon and a mother who was a nurse, there was little doubt what career path Scott would take. Seattle became, and remains, home, where he attended high school and college before going off to medical school in Nebraska and then interning in New York City. Ultimately, Scott set up a dermatology practice in Seattle following stints as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in World War II and as an Army dermatology consultant stationed in Munich, Germany.
All the while, an athlete and sportsman lived within him. A water and snow skier, he played tennis for some time before switching from racket to paddle and taking up table tennis. At that point, already at middle age, a star was born. Ultimately, he’d be named to the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame.
In 1970, Scott became Director of the Washington State Table Tennis Association and as he taught others to play, his game blossomed and he was recognized as the best senior player in the Northwest. From there, he went on to garner seven singles and doubles honors at national tournaments well into his 70s. He also chaired the USA Table Tennis (USATT) Disciplinary Committee from 1973 through 1982 and served as Vice President of the of the committee before being named the first USATT Sports Medicine and Science Committee Chair in 1982, which triggered his growing impact on the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Sports Science and U.S. Olympic substance abuse committees.
His reach extended well beyond table tennis. Scott availed his drug-testing services to the Pan-Am Games, the Olympic Games and World Championships. He also served as team physician and umpire for boxing, judo and table-tennis tournaments, and shared his sports medicine expertise through lectures held from Juneau, Alaska, to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia.
Of Irish descent, Scott gained dual citizenship and served as both the Irish and American team physician at table-tennis tournaments. As recently as this decade, which puts Scott in his 90s, he was still serving in such capacity at international events. His dedication to umpiring is recognized in the Dr. Michael Scott Award being given each year at the U.S. Open and Closed to the most deserving umpire.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy visit www.ussa.edu.