Coach Mike Howard

Vestavia Hills, AL

Conditions + Treatments

Medical Icon Hip Replacement

I’m originally from Lincoln, Alabama and I grew up playing a lot of football, basketball, and baseball. I played football for the Auburn Tigers in the mid 1970's and was a punter and quarterback. I started out as a business major and then moved into education. I got my Masters in Physical Education and my certification in driver’s education.

I graduated from Auburn University in 1978 and started my coaching career at Sylacauga High School. I then went on to coach football at Samford University for 4 years. My wife and I have lived in Vestavia for more than 30 years and I spent the majority of my life teaching and coaching at Vestavia Hills High School, until my retirement in 2017. In those 40 years of teaching and coaching, I never really had a bad day and knew this was what I was called to do.

I learned from one of the best, Coach Buddy Anderson. I wanted to learn from a Christian coach because I wanted to use that mentality in my own coaching and teaching.

In 2017, during the Vestavia Rebels last game of the season against Hoover High School, I began to experience some chest pains. I decided to get it checked out and I had a stress test done. Come to find out, I had some blockage in my heart. I am thankful to Dr. Jeff Dugas, Vestavia Hills High School's longtime team physician, who helped me set up an appointment with a cardiologist at the St. Vincent's clinic. 

In 2019, Dr. Dugas once again helped me as I was experiencing back pain. From there, I made an appointment with Andrews' non-surgical physician, Dr. Chris Carter, who treated me with some conservative options. 

At some point, I started experiencing pain in my right leg and Dr. Carter referred me to Dr. Andrew Cordover, Andrews' orthopaedic surgeon spine specialist.After a physical exam, Dr. Cordover recommended and ordered an MRI. He reviewed my MRI and believed the pain was coming from my back. However, he also noticed that I was having hip problems due to the pain in my legs.

At this point, Dr. Cordover's team took an x-ray and he noticed a cyst in my back. Dr. Cordover made the recommendation and referred me two other Andrews specialists - Dr. Charles Carnel to address the cyst in my back and Dr. James Flanagan to address both of my arthritic hips.

During my initial appointment with Dr. Carnel, administered an injection to burst the cyst in my back. Dr. Flanagan did my right hip replacement in June of 2020 after COVID had subsided a bit. After Thanksgiving of that year, I had more pain in my other hip and back. I went back to Dr. Carnel for another injection because there was another cyst in my back. Following the second injection in my back, I have experienced no pain these past 2 years and I am feeling much better.

The thing I love about Andrews is that the doctors know exactly what to do and they treat you in the order that it is necessary. I got sent to the right doctors who did the right thing for me! The recovery process has been great! I did all the things they told me to do and went to PT at ATI Physical Therapy - Vestavia. One of my players I coached who had gone to Vestavia Hills High School was working at ATI's Vestavia location.

I am feeling great and would recommend Dr. Flanagan to anyone needing hip replacements and Drs. Carnel and Cordover for back issues. I recommend Andrews Sports Medicine to all my family and friends dealing with orthopedic issues! Before I visited Andrews Sports Medicine, I was experiencing all kinds of pain, but once I took the step to go I was able to focus on getting better.

After these past 2 years, I have felt great. As far as life goes, I have been retired since 2017 but I still want to be a positive influence on others just like I did when I coached and taught. Now I can do this for every age group, not just middle and high school students. My goal is to continue this and do what God has called me to do. I genuinely enjoy getting to help others and spread the word as much as I can. My family and I have been blessed with good health, and I have been blessed with a great job and have gotten to meet so many people through it all.

Treatment Providers
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Charles T. Carnel, MD
Charles T. Carnel, MD View Bio
Christopher S. Carter, MD View Bio