Shannon E. Cooke, MD, was born in Kermit, Texas, a small town 65 miles west of Midland. His parents instilled the values of diligence, structure, and follow-through in Dr. Cooke and his sister. His father, a high school principal, emulated these tenants and gave Dr. Cooke a glimpse into the importance of mentors for high school students.
Even as a young boy, Dr. Cooke knew he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. He believes his experience as an orthopedic patient helped him identify his specialty. “Having been the recipient of care via a strong, orthopedic surgeon, I knew almost immediately this was where I could find my purpose,” Dr. Cooke recalled.
After his residency in Mississippi, Dr. Cooke and his wife brought their young family to Abilene, Texas. “Growing up in west Texas, I always embraced the culture this part of Texas offers. Being a member of a tight-knit family—both personally and professionally—is important to me,” Dr. Cooke explained.
Dr. Cooke was fortunate to join Abilene Bone and Joint, while Dr. Shannon Holloway was active. Dr. Holloway helped lay Dr. Cooke’s path to developing solid relationships with his patients and peers.
When asked if his career choice has met his expectations, Dr. Cooke answered firmly, “Yes and then some! I still find affirmation working with both the Abilene Bone & Joint team and our patients.”
Dr. Cooke also serves as the Head Orthopedic Physician for Abilene High School. Though Dr. Cooke no longer has children at Abilene High, he still enjoys participating in the formative aspect of high school athletics.
“It’s very fulfilling to watch young athletes become stellar on the field and compete at high levels. For many, it’s athletics that becomes an avenue for students to attend college and get a good education,” explains Dr. Cooke.
Dr. Cooke relishes helping his patients live pain-free. Someone can come in shuffling, and Dr. Cooke will facilitate healing so they can walk out without the slightest discomfort. His personal orthopedic challenges have provided Dr. Cooke a unique perspective on his patient care. Dr. Cooke’s own experience with rotator cuff pain lets him tap into empathy and a different perspective on healing. He learned sleeping tips and other tricks to manage pain, and he is glad he is in a position to help others with similar struggles.
“I’m humbled how people place their lives in my hands and trust me with their health. Each operation I undertake renews to me the depth of trust involved for the patient,” states Dr. Cooke. “And, later, when someone shakes my hand after a challenging journey through the healing process, I am at a loss for words because it reaffirms the relationship with a slight squeeze of the hand.
When he has free time, Dr. Cooke enjoys fishing, hiking, his hunting dogs, and reading. His reading favorites – history, theology, biographies – are often enjoyed while listening to classical music. However, in addition to his hobbies, it’s evident what Dr. Cooke enjoys most – and that is his family. Dr. Cooke and Becky are parents to seven children. All of the children are successful in their respective careers, yet two of them are following in their father’s steps of medicine.
Next time you see Dr. Cooke, you might want to ask him about his family!