DOCTORS OF INTEREST
Treasure Coast Medical Report
The ER DIRECTOR
When he is not supervising one of four very busy
emergency rooms for Martin Health System or
raising his children, Steven Parr lives for the
competition of extreme sports.
While he makes life-and-death decisions daily in the
emergency room, Parr is just as comfortable going down a
death defying, rocky cliff on a mountain bike or freediving to
spear big fish. He loves to surf big waves and when the wind
is howling, Parr can often be found kiteboarding through the
air off Martin County beaches.
Since heavy winds needed for kiteboarding only blow a
few months of the year, Parr needed something to keep in
shape so he took up cycling. Three times he has ridden the
USA Pro Cycling Challenge, six days at altitude and 700 grueling
miles straight up into the Rocky Mountains. Parr also
rode twice in the Tour of California, a series of 100-150 mile
legs in the mountains from Santa Clara to Santa Barbara. His
longest single-day ride was the Latoja, 204 miles from Logan,
Utah, to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Parr attended the Annecy France cycling camp where the
riders ride the actual legs of the Tour de France. The group
made the Alpe d’Huez climb, the first mountaintop finish in
race history, with switchbacks all the way up and 21 turns. “It
was my first trip to Europe and it was magical,” said Parr.
A trip to Kauai in Hawaii, combined both kiteboarding and
cycling around the island’s mountains.
Most of his freediving is in the water off the northern Bahamas
and he has been down to 100 feet. Parr caught a massive
80-pound black grouper in 50 feet of water with a Hawaiian
sling — not a spear gun.
One of Parr’s greatest experiences was being a part of the
medical team stationed as close as safely possible — sometimes
in an armored vehicle — to the launch pad and the
space shuttle runway at Kennedy Space Center. If something
went wrong at liftoff, the options were the crew could eject,
or the shuttle might come right back to land or make one
orbit and land. For five years, he was as close to ground zero
as anyone could be for launches and landings.
“You feel it vibrating through your bones and reverberating
through your chest, the thunderous roar of the solid
rocket boosters with the liquid oxygen from the shuttle’s
main engines. It was awe inspiring. ” Parr said. “It was cool.
I could go anywhere I wanted except inside mission control.
I met astronauts, future astronauts, cosmonauts and the
During his residency, Parr became the medical director for
the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office SWAT team. “I loved shooting
and hanging out with those guys,” he said.
Steven Parr stands at the ready in a crash room at Tradition Medical Center. Parr sees thousands of patients a year as the emergency medicine director at
the four ERs operated by Martin Health System.
BY GREG GARDNER