Lakers Legend Bounces Back After Care at the Ridley-Tree Center for Wound Management
Bill Bertka, Santa Barbara
Coach Bill Bertka has 10 NBA Championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s right, 10! He’s the only person to have coached all the Laker greats – including Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
Coach Bertka is now 90 years old and going strong. He lives in Santa Barbara and returned to the Lakers camp in July this year as Special Assistant and Consultant.
With his 50-year career in the NBA, Coach Bertka definitely understands what it takes to overcome obstacles both on and off the court: years of preparation, uncompromising discipline and strong teamwork.
There’s no doubt his background prepared him to overcome a medical setback he experienced earlier this year when he fell at a restaurant in Los Angeles. He thought he was okay, but the next morning he saw bleeding from a large gash in his leg.
“My doctor said ‘I’m sending you to the wound center in Goleta’,” the coach recalled. “I said, ‘What’s a wound center?’"
The doctor explained that Bill was going to need ongoing care at the Ridley-Tree Center for Wound Management at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital. It is one of only three centers in California and one of only 21 in the nation to earn a multi-year Gold Seal of ApprovalTM from The Joint Commission for providing measureable, high quality care with superior patient outcomes.
During his first visit, Coach Bertka quickly understood what his doctor was talking about. “They work together as a gifted team,” the coach said. “Dr. John Deacon and the staff were meticulous, and they carefully monitor each patient.”
The coach had weekly visits to the Ridley-Tree Center for Wound Management over about two months. During that time, he was able to work, but he was unable to exercise or get in the pool. That was hard on him because it’s a big part of his daily routine, and he loves it.
The coach’s leg wound healed completely after two months, and he needed no further treatments.
These days, Coach Bertka is back to the life he loves – enjoying time with his family, coaching the Lakers (his other family) in pursuit of more championships and exercising regularly to stay fit and healthy.
“I’ve lived in Santa Barbara a long time, and I’ve always been very satisfied with the care I’ve received at Cottage.”