Dr. Benjamin Cox shows care, empathy, and integrity through medical practice in Mount Pleasant

“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be,” says Dr. Benjamin Cox of Cox Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery, 2600 Three Leaves Dr., of Mount Pleasant.

For the past nine years, Dr. Cox has been an orthopedic surgeon working on bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons, and he has amassed an impressive resume along the way. 

Dr. Cox went to Honors College of Florida Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and then Michigan State University for orthopedic surgery. He finished medical school in 2012. 

After starting his life in Florida and then moving up to Michigan, Dr. Cox decided to go back down to Florida for one year to attend the Andrews Institute and be a part of a fellowship.

The Andrews Institute is named after the leader, James Andrews, head surgeon for the NFL, Hall of Famer for sports and big surgeries, and recipient of the Horatio Alger Humanitarian Award. 

“He taught me that the priorities in orthopedics and life really should be number one, your faith. Number two should be your family. Number three should be orthopedics and number four should be having a good time,” says Dr. Cox. “That was probably the best year of training that I had. From a technical standpoint, I got to learn from some of the best surgeons in the world. From a patient standpoint, getting to take care of some phenomenal individuals and talented athletes.”

Dr. Benjamin CoxNow, back in Michigan, more specifically in Mount Pleasant, Dr. Cox is known by his coworkers and patients as knowledgeable and empathetic. 

Mark Stansberry, PT and co-owner of Mountain Town Rehab, has worked with Dr. Cox since 2018 when he started his practice in Mount Pleasant. They had met earlier at the Andrews Institute.

“I was very impressed with his knowledge of and his enthusiasm for opening his practice in Mount Pleasant,” says Stansberry. “Cox has a great skill set coupled with his ability to communicate with his patients and other providers.”

Annie Van de Water, ACE Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor and Academic Success Coach at Mid Michigan College, was one of Dr. Cox’s patients in the summer of 2020. Her hamstring tore, and she wound up needing to have surgery.

Van de Water says that after her surgery, Dr. Cox called her twice that evening to check in and see how she was doing. 

“My experience with Dr. Cox and his staff was exceptional and the results of my surgery were second to none,” says Van de Water. “From my first visit to his office, he was concerned, friendly, professional, and most importantly, he listened to me and my requests not to waste time or money on X-rays.”

As a competitive cyclist, Van de Water had to stop competing and riding her bike for a while. After her recovery, Van de Water’s hamstring is pain-free and has regained full strength. She is back on her bike and plans to compete in the first half of her Ironman relay in September 2022. 

“It is going to feel extremely good knowing I am getting to the finish line because of the work of Dr. Cox and his team,” says Van de Water. “It is clear to me that Dr. Cox values people, integrity, and excellence in his work and service that he provides to his community.”

Dr. Cox chose this field because he has always enjoyed fixing things, working with his hands, and building relationships with others.

“There's obviously a huge amount of trust that you have to build with people in order to operate on them,” says Dr. Cox. “I get to meet so many different people, and we become very, very close very quickly.”

The rewarding aspect of being a surgeon is getting to see patients succeed, according to Dr. Cox. 

One of those rewards was receiving a text message about a former patient in high school setting a personal record for the 100-meter dash while also winning state competitions. Another one of his patients was recently drafted in the second round NFL draft. 

“Basically their careers are over. I get to know them and then we get them back into action and get to see them do the thing they love to do in life again,” says Dr. Cox. “To me, it's just very satisfying.”

Giving up about a decade of his life to medical school, Dr. Cox says what kept him going through that time period of his life was fear of failure. Watching 10% of his class fail during the first year due to the competitive culture and having the responsibility of another person’s body, there comes a level of perfection.

“Part of me says, unless I do a perfect job in every way, shape, and form, I've failed,” says Dr. Cox. “It's expected that we shoot for perfection and, in the process, reach excellence.”

Getting through medical school was one thing, but getting through and dealing with this pressure was an entirely different ballgame.

Dr. Cox says the ability to let go and give up total control was due to his inspiration and faith in God. 

“What was really going on was I was being led by something much greater than myself that I didn't understand at the time,” says Dr. Cox. “When God works through me, it's such a blessing. I pray to continue to be blessed. That's just a huge part of I think, in life in general, but as a surgeon that I'm faced with it very closely on a regular basis because I'm dealing with the acuity of injuries.” 

One of the most thrilling aspects of his career right now is growing in his spirituality. 

Along with that, Dr. Cox underwent board certification in 2021 and was reviewed by a committee of other surgeons. The committee challenges cases and allows the surgeon under review to answer their questions and challenges, giving them a final score. A passing score is 500, and the average score is 663. Dr. Cox received a perfect score of 800 and finished in the 99th percentile.

After years of hard-work and starting his faith journey, he is in the top 1% of surgeons in the United States, making him an incredible asset to those in Mount Pleasant and Isabella County.
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Read more articles by Addy Wachter.

Addy Wachter is a Grand Haven resident who is currently a student at Central Michigan University. She plans to graduate during the summer of 2023 with a major in photojournalism and a minor in cultural and global studies. Along with working with Epicenter, she is a photographer and writer at Central Michigan Life newspaper who enjoys traveling and exploring new places in her spare time, always taking her camera with her wherever she goes.