By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
As originally published in Texas Border Business newsprint edition June 2020
Dr. Daniel Romanelli comes with impressive credentials to the Rio Grande Valley. We can say that thanks to South Padre Island, the Valley has one of the most dedicated and specialized surgeons in shoulder and knee injuries.
Years ago, he chose South Padre Island as his vacation spot. He visited every year with his family and traveled through the Valley to get acquainted with the cities that comprise the Valley. “It was a unique experience,” he told Mega Doctor NEWS. He said it was an easy decision to move here for him and his family.
Dr. Romanelli is now with Marquez Robotic Orthopedic Institute in Edinburg, Texas. He was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina and has traveled worldwide, dedicating his time and knowledge to young athletes in the different fields of sports.
Dr. Romanelli is a board-certified physician in both Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, treating everything from tendon and labral tears in shoulders to ACL, meniscus, and cartilage injuries in your knees. His dual certification enables him to assess, diagnose, and treat to heal musculoskeletal conditions with such complexity as a shoulder and knee injury specialist. “I do arthroscopic reconstructions of shoulders and knees mainly, but I work on any sports injury to include elbow, hand, ankle, and foot,” he said.
He moved from New Mexico, where he was already recognized as one of the best orthopedic experts, with the tools and expertise to handle it all. His forte comes from fusing the two worlds of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. It gives him a comprehensive understanding of a variety of injuries. To back it up; he has twenty years of experience and a distinguished reputation in his field.
It is important to note that Dr. Romanelli took care of the U.S. Soccer team for twelve years. “I was a traveling team physician for the teams. I cared for both men and women, including the full team to the youth age of 17.”
He traveled to different tournaments around the world. He also did Olympic qualifiers with the women’s full team in Juarez. “I’ve done world cups for the ‘under 23’ women and big tournaments for the men’s team.”
“I also served as a consultant at New Mexico State University for 16 years as one of the orthopedic consultants where I took care of the division 1 athletes.” He saw athletes playing basketball, soccer, volleyball, football, baseball, tennis, and more.
His practice has been mostly sporting medicine, but he also does quite a bit of Workers’ Compensation, including the Border Patrol agents, Customs agents, police officers, firemen, and people who get hurt at work.
Dr. Romanelli’s main concern is to get to see his patients as quickly as possible, within the same day or the next day for an appointment to diagnose their problem. “After, I order the necessary tests and then figure out what surgery is required or whether they need physical therapy.” He said, “My goal is always to get them back to work or to get them back to playing sports as quickly and safely as possible.”
In sports, he encounters patients with tendon, and labral injuries in the shoulders and ACL, meniscus, and cartilage injuries in the knees. These injuries are painful to the patient. The best solution is to have a physician with tools and expertise to handle it all.
An anterior cruciate ligament, better known as ACL injury, is a tear or sprain— in the major ligaments in your knee. ACL injuries occur during sports that involve sudden stops or changes in direction, jumping, and landings — such as football, soccer, or basketball.
With a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a medical degree from New York Medical College, his journey to be one of the best in the field as an orthopedic specialist has been decades in the making.
After calling New Mexico his home, Dr. Romanelli has grown within the medical world and the communities he served. In his former community, he contributed in a variety of methods as a professional Orthopaedic consultant for both New Mexico State University (NMSU) Athletics and Las Cruces Area High Schools. On top of his local contributions, Dr. Romanelli has served as an official Team Physician for the U.S. National Soccer team, Volunteer Clinical Assistant Professor for the University of New Mexico School of Medicine; the list goes on. He intends to replicate his contribution here in the Valley.
Dr. Romanelli in his profession. He said that a volleyball player or baseball player, usually when they are injured, it is their shoulder, or a labral injury or rotator cuff injury, or it is sometimes the biceps tendon.
“Often, with an overhead throwing athlete, they can injure the ligaments of the elbow that help them throw or hitthe ball. When that happens, I can fix the ligament on the inside of the elbow. This procedure is better known as Tommy John surgery, named after the famed Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who successfully made a comeback to professional sports.” He continues, “I can do that procedure, and I believe I am one of the only surgeons in the Valley who does that. Otherwise, you have to go to San Antonio or Dallas to get that done.”
He is also known as a surgeon who works on complex shoulder surgeries that, according to Dr. Romanelli, aren’t necessarily being done in the Valley. In soccer or in football, he often treats players with a lot of knee injuries, mostly ACL injuries, meniscus injuries, cartilage and or dislocations of the knee cap.
He said that as time has gone by, Orthopaedic surgeons have gotten better in their techniques of this kind of surgery. He added that the instruments used to help with these injuries, meaning the equipment and the implants, have had a remarkable evolution in the last 2 decades.
“That is why, now it is possible to take someone who had a severe knee or shoulder injury and get them back to playing sports where that wasn’t true back in the sixties and seventies, or even the eighties or nineties when the equipment and implants were very limited.”
He attributes these advances to science, technology, and innovation and how sports medicine has exploded. “That’s why you see these athletes who get hurt with horrendous injuries, but they’re able to get back to play because of all these innovations by leading surgeons, leading companies that provide the techniques, equipment and implant products.”
Dr. Romanelli is familiar with the Valley because he has been coming since 2004 to South Padre Island. “We fell in love with South Padre; then we explored the Valley. In 2008, I bought a house in South Padre Island.”
He said that they frequented the Valley towns over the years only to realize that they fell in love with the culture, the food, the friendly people, and the exceptional climate.
Dr. Romanelli was already thinking of “retiring into the sunset,” as he said, but this opportunity came up with Dr. Marquez. “I came and looked at the opportunity that I see as a new chapter in my life to start from scratch,” he said. He started working as of May 1, 2020. Yes, he just got here.
“I went from being a very well-known physician in New Mexico, and I came here where no one knows me. So, I am looking at this as a challenge and as an opportunity to help people. My goal is that if you have a sports injury, you don’t have to go to San Antonio, we can fix you right here,” he said.
Dr. Romanelli is fluent in Spanish, which is essential for the Valley. It’s always good to know that the Valley has access to a physician with so many qualities, and who has been in charge of elite athletes. He offers advanced arthroscopic specialty care for sports injury patients.
He is committed to offering comprehensive muscle and joint care. He specializes in arthroscopic shoulder and knee reconstruction surgeries, to include ACL, meniscus, and cartilage. He also will see injuries to the elbow, wrist, hand, ankle, and foot injuries. “I will see you for any sport or work injury,” he said.
Dr. Romanelli is board-certified in both orthopedic surgery and sports medicine. Additionally, he has 20 years’ experience in the field.
“I bring expertise to the Valley, and my goal is to help people and get them back to the things they love to do as soon as possible,” he finalized. If you would like to know more about him, visit his website at: drdanielromanelli.com.
Welcome to the Valley, Dr. Romanelli!