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story.lead_photo.caption Dr. Brian Ellefsen has joined the Noble Health team in Fulton. He has been a specialist in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery for almost 30 years. Photo by Noble Health submission

Dr. Brian Ellefsen has joined the Noble Health team in Fulton.

He graduated from Kansas City University School of Medicine and Biosciences in 1988 where he studied sports medicine and orthopedic surgery. He completed his residency in 1993 in Orthopedic surgery at Deaconess Health Systems in St. Louis and the University of Southern Florida, Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida. After graduated, Ellefsen started off in west Missouri with high school and college teams, but once Joplin's hospital was destroyed in 2011 by a tornado he relocated to Marshall.

In Marshall, he took care of Missouri Valley College, State Fair Community College, part of Central Missouri, part of Truman University and Lincoln.

"I was always in athletics," Ellefsen said. "I played football throughout, and then I didn't get my first choice, which was going into the NFL. So my grades were good, and I noticed the team position was in on almost every decision making process, right in the middle of the games and good seats so I thought this might be something I would be interested in. So that's kind of how I got started in sports medicine, and the more time I spent around it the better I liked it."

He moved to Fulton after getting involved with Noble Health. Their philosophy really spoke to him, the idea it's important to keep these small, rural hospitals open.

"They're pretty important because you know if you have to wait to make it to Columbia because you're short of breath we're in trouble," Ellefsen said. "So, I agreed with that. I wanted to be a part of something that is pretty big, and I think this is so I relocated."

As his time grows with Noble, he will help keep rural health care prominent in the Midwest. He is a part of their orthopedics program which will help new hospitals get the program up and running so other orthopedic surgeons, who have similar interested in rural health care, can take them over after they've been developed.

So far, Fulton is growing on Ellefsen. He loves how classic, small town, mid-America the town is, the mom and pop shops and the small restaurants with their special twists on their menus instead of the numerous amounts of chain restaurants.

"It just has that nice hometown, small town feeling," Ellefsen said.

Outside the clinic, sports is still a big part of his life. In the fall, he attends football games every Saturday covering the sidelines, and then in the winter it's basketball and wrestling. He also enjoys riding motorcycles, fishing and spending time with his two boys, Steven and Gabe.

"I have two boys," Ellefsen said. "One works in my office with me getting ready to go to PA school and the other is a sophomore at Missouri Valley starting defensive end."

Though he knows the opportunities are bigger in larger cities, he as felt comfortable in Fulton since he has arrived. It's similar in size to where he grew up, and it's where he wants to be.

"I mean, I got a fishing pole in the back of my truck," Ellefsen said. "And when I'm out of the clinic, and I can go put my line in the water for five minutes, you just can't beat that."

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