DECATUR -- Patrick Ruwe started with a simple dream: He wanted to be a doctor.
After graduating from Eisenhower as valedictorian in 1979, Ruwe began chasing that dream by becoming the first Eisenhower graduate to attend Yale. In 1987, Ruwe graduated with honors from Yale School of Medicine.
Twenty-eight years later, Ruwe is much more than just a doctor. He's been a physician at Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists for more than 16 years and now is the practice's president. Previously, he was the team physician for Yale athletics.
While an undergraduate at the university, Ruwe was a three-year starter for the football team. He was captain as a senior in 1982 and selected as an Academic All-American. Ruwe was also on the Yale wrestling team.
In November, Ruwe received the George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award at Yale's annual Blue Leadership Ball. The award is given to former Yale athletes for their examples of leadership after graduation.
"It's kind of like a hall of fame, but not so much for what you accomplished athletically," Ruwe said.
After his graduation from Yale School of Medicine, at which his doctoral thesis that won a prize for outstanding research was selected for presentation, Ruwe completed his fellowship at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. He was involved in the care of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kings, Rams, Angels and Dodgers.
At the clinic, Ruwe worked with Frank Jobe, who originated the elbow ligament repair technique now known as Tommy John Surgery.
"It was a wonderful year for a guy who loved sports and wanted to be a sports doctor," Ruwe said.
Ruwe is still president of Yale Football Association and performs medical work with the team, but he's most proud of the work he's done with his practice.
"I've been able to help build it into the giant organization that I now run," Ruwe said.
Ruwe lives with his wife, Stacy, a Macon High School graduate, and their three children in Branford, Conn. He's the son of Frank and Jere Ruwe.