Dr. Fletch Colwell, MD
Tabeguache Family and Sports Medicine
Dr. Fletch Colwell responded with warm smile and an emphatic “Heck, no!” when asked if he knew he wanted to pursue medicine as a young man. “During my freshman year in college, the most miserable students were the pre-med students.” Dr. Fletch Colwell’s easy-going demeanor and good sense of humor were immediately evident as he reflected on his journey into his current profession. Although he took a less traditional path into the medical field, Fletch’s experiences and training culminated perfectly in his practice at Tabeguache Family and Sports Medicine located in the heart of Grand Junction, Colorado.
While attending Emory University in Atlanta, surrounded by pre-med majors, he pursued a degree in anthropology, especially drawn to medical anthropology. “The school had a strong facility in medical anthropology and because of their in-depth knowledge, my fascination grew into a strong understanding of how cultures were impacted by health. I got to study bones and medical systems,” reflects Fletch. “I was on track to pursue a graduate degree in public health, but when I sat down to write my personal statement, I realized I didn’t have one. I didn’t have my why.”
Throughout his youth, Fletch was involved in sports and was passionate about outdoor recreation. During summer breaks in college, he would head to Colorado as a raft guide. “I fell in love with white water adventure,” states Fletch with a sparkle in his eye as he recalls memories. “I guided in the Upper Colorado, the Arkansas River, the Green, and Rio Grande. I even guided in New Zealand.”
His love of outdoor adventure took him to Seattle as a 22-year-old where he found himself with an undergraduate degree and a job in sales at an outdoor equipment, start-up company. Fletch remembers how he “didn’t love selling, but loved the industry.” It was there, in Seattle, he met his wife Jen and decided to pursue a career in medicine.
“Of course, I had a degree in anthropology so I needed to complete two years of basic science classes before I could apply to med school,” he recalls. “So, I got a job in a local emergency department for experience. I did science in the morning and worked the ER in the evenings. I had the time of my life!”
Shortly after he completed his general education classes, his first child was born—a boy named Trigg. Fletch was able to apply to medical schools and stay home with Trigg full-time before ultimately, being accepted and attending the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Three and half years after Trigg arrived, Fletch and his wife welcomed a baby girl named Quilcene to complete their family of four.
A family medicine residency brought Fletch and his family to Colorado where he joined St. Mary’s Medical Center. “After completing my family medicine residency, I was lucky enough to get a fellowship with St. Mary’s in sports medicine. It was serendipitous.”
Fletch describes sports medicine as “tangible.” He continues, “muscles and bones and the way they work together just make sense, and my work is essentially muscular skeletal medicine.”
“After completing my family medicine residency, I was lucky enough to get a fellowship with St. Mary’s in sports medicine. It was serendipitous.”
It’s this hands-on medicine that married his background in medical anthropology with his love of outdoor recreation and his training in both sports and family medicine, which ultimately brought Dr. Fletch Colwell to Tabeguache Family and Sports Medicine, a division of Primary Care Partners.
“Sports medicine is underutilized. By paring it with family medicine, we are able to develop long-term relationships with our patients and focus on the muscular-skeletal piece of medicine we love. We help our patients understand why it hurts. We give anyone who comes in with pain a plan—a plan to help them get better so they can stay active and lead the lifestyle they want to live.”
“We give anyone who comes in with pain a plan—a plan to help them get better so they can stay active and lead the lifestyle they want to live.”
Dr. Colwell, like his partner Dr. Frye, firmly believes his job is to keep his patients moving so they can maintain the active lifestyle they want to live. Daily he helps his patients understand their pain, diagnose solutions, and plan for recovery while partnering with physical therapists and specialists across the valley to give his patients the best possible care.
Tabeguache Family and Sports Medicine is accepting new patients. Call Monument Health’s wellness warriors at 970.683.5630 to learn more.