July 2019

OUTSIDE THE OR

Ophthalmologist trains for range of unique sporting events


by Ellen Stodola EyeWorld Senior Staff Writer/Meetings Editor


Dr. Colling competes at
the World Long Drive
Championship. His
highest finish was a
tie for third place.


Dr. Colling operates while on a mission trip in Nicaragua.


Dr. Colling competes on one of the American Ninja Warrior obstacles.


Dr. Colling poses during the media day while competing on American Ninja Warrior in Orlando.
Source (all): Landon Colling, MD

 

Despite his busy schedule, Landon Colling, MD, found time during his ophthalmology training to compete in two unique sporting events: the World Long Drive Championship and on the popular American Ninja Warrior. Dr. Colling shared with
EyeWorld how he got involved in these and some of the necessary skills required to excel.
Dr. Colling played golf and baseball in college. When he went to medical school, he wanted to keep playing golf, but found that it requires a significant time commitment. “You have to spend a significant amount of time with each of the 14 clubs in your bag to remain pretty good. I just didn’t have the time in med school,” Dr. Colling said.
It was during his first or second year of medical school that Dr. Colling saw the World Long Drive Championship, and he wondered if he could compete. “I knew I could hit the ball pretty far, but I didn’t know if I could run with some of the best guys in the world,” he said.
Dr. Colling started to get into long driving competitions. He noted that there are three levels of qualifying to get up to making the world championships. “I put some clubs together, started to go to competitions, and did pretty well. I made the World Championship my first year,” he said.
In long drive, there’s no finesse, Dr. Colling said. The competition consists of different rounds to see who can hit the ball the farthest. Usually, you hit on a grid of some type (long runway or driving range) with boundary lines, and as long as you land the ball in the boundary lines, the longest drive wins. “It’s straight brute power and speed,” he said.
At the World Championship, there are usually 100–125 competitors from around the world. Dr. Colling competed in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2015. His highest finish was a tie for third place in 2008 (where he also tied as the top U.S. finisher) when he was a second-year ophthalmology resident at Ohio State. Dr. Colling said he hasn’t kept up with long drive competitions since 2015 because of his busy practice and growing family.
Dr. Colling also found time for other challenging physical activities, namely competing on American Ninja Warrior in 2015. During his residency, Dr. Colling was persuaded by a fellow resident to submit an audition video.
He put together a video showcasing some of his talents, including his background in gymnastics. In addition, he pulled footage from things he had done in the past. When he was chosen to be on the show, Dr. Colling said that the producers contacted his wife first so that she could film him receiving the call, and he was very excited.
He started doing more climbing training, as those who have a climbing background and a lot of upper body strength tend to do well on the show. “Other than that, the balance and coordination and jumping, I sort of winged it,” he said.
In his performance on the show, Dr. Colling was able to complete four of the six obstacles. “No one really does as well as they’d like to on the show,” he said, adding that it was an overall positive experience, which included a media day at Universal Studios in Orlando before the actual competition.
In addition to interesting sporting competitions, Dr. Colling has extended his ophthalmology work outside the OR in the form of outreach in other countries. He joined in on mission trips to Mexico and Nicaragua with physicians looking for extra help. He noted that though he hasn’t done much mission work recently because of a busy practice, he hopes to do more in the future.
Today, Dr. Colling practices in a general ophthalmology practice in Lynchburg, Virginia. Being in a small town, he treats a variety of cases, from cataract to retina issues.

About the doctor

Landon Colling, MD
Harman Eye Center
Lynchburg, Virginia

Contact information

Colling: landoncolling@gmail.com

Ophthalmologist trains for range of unique sporting events Ophthalmologist trains for range of unique sporting events
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