Athletes, in almost all fields, require special care at the body level, to the point that doctors are an essential part of their training and physical preparation. This is well known by Fabian Pacheco, a medical specialist who has emerged as a member of the Wilstermann and Aurora teams, in Cochabamba, and on the Bolivian national football team.
As a football fan, serving athletes is a way to help and get closer to one of their passions.
Pacheco, 45, studied medicine at the Universidad Mayor de San Simon. After receiving his degree, he immigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the aim of taking a course, but eventually continued his specialization in sports medicine at the Italian Hospital.
Upon returning to the country in 2007, he began his professional career at the Aurora club serving players. Among his anecdotes, he recalls that in 2008, the team was the champion of the Clausura championship of the professional football league.
“I wanted to play at a professional level, but due to the injury, I couldn’t. I was very sad and frustrated, but it motivated me a lot to see these athletes on the field, their injuries and also my injuries, which were never resolved at the time. ‘, he admits.
Pacheco recounts that at the age of seventeen he was part of the football team of the Bolivarian Games, but could not progress any further. Years later, in medicine he found a way to be a part of the sport. “I wanted to see my injury and help other athletes,” he says.
As a way to continue his studies, in 2009, he went for a specialty procedure in Canada, although he had many problems with the system and started family medicine. He then spent another year in sports medicine working with Olympic athletes in various disciplines, such as athletics, rugby, baseball, tennis, American football and volleyball, among others.
In 2014, he returned to Bolivia and joined the coaching staff of Wilstermann, but not for too long as he had to return to Canada, where he remained until 2015.
Later, when he arrived in the country to stay, he was called up to join the national football team as Chief Medical Officer, until 2019.
At the same time, after completing his training, he opened his own medical center for athletes, where he deals with regenerative medicine, ozone therapy and stem cells.
The success of his services has made him a benchmark for people across the country, with many of his patients coming from within.
In fact, one of his greatest professional accomplishments was in the field of regenerative medicine, “the medicine of the future,” according to the doctor.
“We were fortunate to have a bank of 700 patients in a three-year period, in different specialties. We were able to put together a protocol for the growth factors and the number of stem cells that we had to apply, and we took that to an international conference,” he says.
This work was presented to recognized physicians from all over the world and won an award as leaders for research and contribution to humanity representing Bolivia. To get into this conference, they had to go through auditions, but in the end, they made a huge impact on over 5,000 listeners from 54 countries.
Going out and opening a professional space is not always an easy task. Fabian comments that his stay in Canada was complicated at first, due to various barriers, such as language. “Very difficult. Immigration is not easy. He emphasizes that leaving everything is complicated because one starts from scratch
Despite being able to practice his profession in Canada – he is licensed – Pacheco chose to work in Bolivia because he felt he could help his country. “My goal is to be able to help my community with what I have learned. Many of my colleagues who went to the States are no longer, but not me, I am fortunate to have my family here and that is why we are improving ourselves here.
His specialty is unusual in Bolivia. He stresses that being a sports doctor is a wonderful experience, although it is also a challenge because they have very little institutional and governmental support.
Among the athletes prepared by Pacheco are medal winners Bruno Rojas, Karen Torres, Conrado Moscoso and Carola Loma.
“It takes a lot to appear professional in sports, and that makes me see many points of view on how to help them improve their athletic performance and treat their injuries,” he says.
One of the characteristics of the doctor is the application of ozone therapy in his treatments. It is clear that it is used in many countries for restorative procedures with excellent results. In fact, it was one of the novelties that he brought to the national team during his stay.
Fabian is the son of Meri Lilian Lafuente and Rolando Pacheco, a family physician. “He (father) is one of the promoters of who I am now, of what I have been able to do in my career,” he says, recalling how his father helped him make the decision to major. “I had many doubts as to whether I was going abroad and he wisely told me ‘Go on, find out other things.’ That opened my eyes, and I dedicate all this to him.
He is the father of four children – Mariana, Adrien, Santiago and Bernardo. It was one of the reasons for his continuing career in Cochabamba. “They are the ones who give me so much strength and so much energy to be able to work. The applause I get from them is my biggest motivation, and their hugs are the best I have, it’s the best thing that can happen to me.
Over the years and the timely interest that he himself discovered – and can be resolved at the time – he was able to play football again in an amateur fashion. He loves to participate in medical college tournaments.
Among his future projects, he seeks to implement a rehabilitation service in his clinic so that his patients can find everything they need – physical therapy, machines and operating room – in one place. In addition, he does not rule out the idea of u200bu200breturning to the national football team. “The feeling of being at Hernando Siles, singing the national anthem, is indescribable,” Pacheco says.