Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Tarek Souryal

A leading orthopedic surgeon in the field of sports medicine, Dr. Tarek Souryal has been the head team physician for the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks for 20 seasons.

Dr. Tarek Souryal

He is known internationally for his work on anterior cruciate ligament injuries and ACL surgery.

Souryal came to SHSU because his father was a faculty member in the College of Criminal Justice.  After graduating in 1977 with a major in biology and minors in both math and sociology, Souryal was accepted by the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio.

“I showed up on the first day of medical school, and everyone had to wear a name tag with the names of the colleges they had attended,” he said. “I looked around and there were people from Harvard, Yale, Rice and lots from the University of Texas.

“Frankly, I was intimidated,” he said. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. Here I am from Sam Houston, and I have to compete with these students from the Ivy League.’

“At the end of the first year, I made the dean’s list, and I realized I was just as prepared as anyone else,” he said. “I was very proud of my Sam Houston affiliation.  It prepared me well.”

He completed his residency at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, which offers a five-year orthopedic residency, then went to the Hughston Orthopedic Clinic in Columbus, Ga., which has a distinguished reputation for its sports medicine program.

He moved back to Dallas and opened a solo sports medicine practice. One of his mentors in Dallas, J. Pat Evans, was the team doctor for the Cowboys and the Mavericks. Evans invited Souryal to assist him with the Mavericks.

When Evans retired in 1992, the Mavericks asked Souryal to stay on as the head team doctor. Souryal served in that role until 1996. After a five-year gap, he returned to the team as head doctor in 2000.

He is also the founder and medical director of the Texas Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Group. His private practice deals primarily with treating recreational athletes, mostly individuals who play tennis, go skiing, or “blow their ankles out” in the back yard playing volleyball.

For 15 years, until schools in the former Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District were shut down in 2005 because of financial and academic difficulties, Souryal served as team doctor for the district’s consolidated high school.

As an offshoot of his experience with Wilmer-Hutchins, Souryal established the Texas Sports Medicine Foundation, a charitable organization to help financially disadvantaged high school athletes with medical bills.

In addition to his clinical work and his teaching duties with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Souryal also hosts “Inside Sports Medicine,” a weekly show for ESPN Radio.

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