Meet Our Team

Dr. Lawrence "Larry" Lemak, Founder and Chairman

Dr. Lawrence Lemak is the Founder of Lemak Sports Medicine & Orthopedics—a center of excellence in orthopedic surgery with expertise in all areas of orthopedics and primary care sports medicine. Dr. Lemak devotes his practice to sports medicine and knee replacements and is a nationally recognized leader in his field.

With vast experience in sports medicine and his passion for the safety of athletes at every level of participation, Dr. Lemak serves as a member of the Medical Advisory Board of Pop Warner Football and the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA)—sharing his knowledge and lending his expertise to these organizations.

Dr. Lemak founded the National Center for Sports Safety (NCSS) in 2001 after identifying a need to decrease the number and severity of injuries to youth, recreation, and high school athletes. The NCSS educates youth and high school coaches on the prevention and care of athletic injuries and has educated over 20,000 coaches since its inception.

Dr. Lemak’s devotion to sports medicine led him to found and chair the Alabama Sports Foundation in 1996—bringing the highest level of sports competition to Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, he was a founder of the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), a research and education institute for sports medicine, which has produced volumes of research for sports medicine and has educated over 250 orthopedic surgeons and family practitioners in sports medicine.

As the Medical Director of NFL’s Europe League for over 15 years, Dr. Lemak has cared for over 2,000 professional football players. In addition, he has been the Medical Director for Major League Soccer for 20 years. Not only does he treat professional athletes, he is also the team physician for many high schools and colleges in Alabama.

After Dr. Lemak brought the 1996 Olympic Soccer Games to Birmingham, along with many other sports medicine endeavors in the community, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame with the Distinguished Sportsman Award in 1997. Dr. Lemak was the first physician to be inducted into the AHSAA Hall of Fame and Montevallo sports Hall of Fame for his devotion to the care and safety of athletes in the State of Alabama.

Dr. Lemak is a graduate of The University of Alabama Medical School and completed his residency at The University of Pittsburgh. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA).

Joey Longoria, Director of Advancement

A 1991 graduate of Auburn University, Joey handles development and marketing for the ASPIRE Sports Institute in addition to being the driving force behind The Birmingham Wine 10K started in 2016. A professional artist and professional chef (the second one is not true), Joey recently had a sketchbook placed on the shelves of the Brooklyn Art Library in New York and has done commissions for Alabama Power, Rickwood Field, and several foundations including The Tim Tebow Foundation.  When not running with friends on the streets of Birmingham, he enjoys traveling with his wife Carrie and trying to keep up with his 11-year-old daughter. Joey grew up playing soccer and running track in the Houston area and is an avid sports fan. College football and track and field are his most watched events with a very heated house divided rivalry each year when Auburn plays Mississippi State (his wife’s alma mater) in football.  

Ellen Garrett, Director of Sport Safety Education

Ellen Garrett is the Director of Sport Safety Education for ASPIRE and serves as an Athletic Trainer Coordinator for Champion Sports Medicine.

Ellen assists communities and venues in the development of safety guidelines and practices to promote a safe environment for athletes. 

Before joining ASPIRE, Ellen was an Educator in Health Sciences and developed programs for Certified Medical Assistants. In addition to her role in education, Ellen has been a Certified Athletic Trainer since 2006 and held roles with high school to professional athletes.

During Ellen's career as an athletic trainer, she has worked with Centenary College, Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine's NFL Program, and SAU Tech Community College. While working in a variety of settings, she found her passion in developing programs to help sporting communities provide safer environments for athletes through education and establishing safe practice guidelines.

 In conjunction with her full-time career, Ellen also served in the Air National Guard for 20 years as an Aerospace Medical Technician NCOIC of Nursing Services. While in the military Ellen deployed during Operation Iraqi/Enduring  Freedom and Operation New Dawn. She also provided humanitarian support during Katrina, Operation Cornerstone, Tuscaloosa tornadoes in 2011, and COVID-19. 

Ellen is a native of Douglas, Alabama, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training from Samford University.