Dr. Troy Layton joins the Trash Pandas


“This is all I’ve wanted to do.” 

Those were the words of Dr. Troy Layton upon being named the team physician for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, the professional baseball team that will begin play in April 2020 at the newly Toyota Field.

As one of the founding physicians of SportsMED Orthopaedic Surgery & Spine Center in 1994 with Dr. Eric Janssen, Layton has specialized in sports injuries, especially the areas of knees and shoulders. He and Janssen had a vision of what they wanted to do in the Huntsville area: first, educate the city and surrounding communities on sports medicine, and second, assist most of the high schools in the area by providing expert care alongside an athletic program’s athletic trainer.

Layton’s first exposure to professional sports teams was when he was named team physician for the Huntsville Channel Cats professional hockey team, which is now known as the Huntsville Havoc. In 1994 he was chosen as team physician for the Huntsville Stars professional baseball team, and he remained with the parent club organization of the Milwaukee Brewers until the Stars’ closure in 2014.

“There were several doctors in the Birmingham area that I have worked with that recommended me for the position with the Brewers’ organization,” said Layton. “Once the Trash Pandas came to be, their parent club, the Los Angeles Angels, contacted me. They had asked the Brewers who they used while their organization was thriving in Huntsville.”

That was almost two years ago, and now Layton is officially on staff with the Angels. He will receive a small stipend for his general care of the players, their families and anyone associated with the team. “I love personal connection with a team like the Trash Pandas and being a personal physician to so many people,” said Layton, “not only for the athletes but their families. This is a big-time commitment, as I’ll be responsible for non-orthopaedic care as well. I’ll use Crestwood Medical Center in conjunction with what SportsMED will provide the Trash Pandas.”

Becoming a highly-trained orthopaedic surgeon began while Layton was attending Tarrant High School in Birmingham. He was a three-sport athlete, but as a junior he suffered a broken femur bone and had a rod inserted in his leg during a special surgical procedure. The experience gave him the inspiration and drive to become a surgeon and specialize in athletics. “Right after that surgery, I knew I wanted to work in the field of sports medicine,” said Layton. “The decision happened almost overnight. I’m the only person in my immediate family involved in the medical field.”

Layton is a 1989 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, and he completed his sports medicine fellowship at the University of Oklahoma after his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1994. He has been a surgeon consultant for numerous athletic programs, including the University of Florida and Oklahoma State University. He’s also been a course instructor for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and clinical instructor at UAB.

SportsMED is heavily involved in the Trash Pandas, as it will host the SportsMED Founders Club on the first base side of the new Toyota Field.

Layton said he performs 700-800 surgeries a year, mostly on knees and shoulders. With any patient, he explained,  the quality of care is important, especially with professional athletes, as they have career goals that could depend on how he treats them.

“For me, this is a great relationship, as the Trash Pandas are a first-class operation, and I’ve had nothing but a positive experience with the local organization and the Angels,” said Layton.

He and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 27 years and have two children.

“I can’t get away from being a team physician – it’s in my blood,” added Layton. “This is a natural fit.”