March 3, 2022 - After serving for 25 years as team physician for UMass Athletics and staff physician at University Health Services, Pierre Rouzier, M.D., is retiring - but don’t think you’ve seen the last of him. He’s been telling the athletes and coaches, “I'll still be around. I'll probably be getting in people's way and bothering them.” And he looks forward to teaching and mentoring the sports fellows, residents and students when he has the chance.
Born and raised in California, Rouzier studied kinesiology at the University of California Davis and attended the University of Southern California School of Medicine. While traveling in the Papua New Guinea Highlands as a medical student in 1983, he met a doctor who had completed his residency in Worcester, MA. The encounter inspired Rouzier to apply to residency programs on the east coast, and he matched at the UMass Family Medicine Residency in Worcester.
After his residency ended, Rouzier spent five years in Arizona on the Fort Apache Reservation, home to the White Mountain Apache Tribe, providing trauma care, primary care, and sports medicine. Then he and his wife Arlene moved to Colorado, where he taught family medicine and sports medicine at a family medicine residency, and also traveled the country as a rural medicine training consultant. In 1997, Rouzier learned from colleagues in Massachusetts that the team physician at UMass, the late Dr. James Ralph, was retiring. Rouzier applied for the position, and has been caring for UMass athletes, students, and community members ever since.
Throughout his career, Rouzier says, “I think my biggest attribute has been having a positive attitude and truly caring for my patients' needs.” Rouzier says his proudest sports medicine moment was going out onto the ice with the UMass men’s hockey team when they won the 2021 NCAA championship, and holding the trophy over his head. “That's when I told myself, it doesn't get any better than this,” he recalls. “It's time to retire; it’s time to pass the torch.” He also takes pride in the friendships he has forged with former student patients, some of whom now have college-aged children of their own. In 2016, Rouzier completed a 4,200-mile bike trip from Oregon to Boston with his patient and friend Roger Grette, pictured below. More bike trips are in store for Rouzier in retirement. “I want to do Vancouver to the border of Mexico,” he says. “And I want to do a bigger trip through the south, from San Diego to Florida. I want to go see small rural high school football games on Friday nights and, if I can time it right, college games through the south on Saturdays.” Having recently completed a yoga teacher training in Costa Rica, Rouzier plans to teach yoga. He looks forward to spending time with his new grandchild due in May, hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, going to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia in 2023, and attending as many UMass games as possible.
Reflecting on the last 25 years, Rouzier says, “I would be a college health doctor and a sports doctor over again, without a doubt. I've had a great career. I have a sign on my wall that says, ‘If you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life.’ I tell people that that's how my job has been.”