Ernest Brock

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Ernest Cole Brock Jr (born November 20, 1924 in Fairfield; died November 5, 2016 in Tuscaloosa) was the long time orthopedic physician for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.

Brock was the youngest child of Ernest and Julia Brock of Fairfield. He was an All-County selection and co-captain of his Fairfield High School Tigers football team. During his senior year he left school to enlist in the U.S. Army for service in World War II. He was trained as a gunner and assigned to the "City of Omaha" B-29 Superfortress with the 330th Bombardment group and flew 33 combat missions along with many reconnaissance missions over Japan. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for downing two Japanese fighters during a raid on Otake. His aircraft provided the first eyewitness accounts of the damage from the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.

After his discharge, Brock returned to Fairfield and joined the Army Reserve, where he rose to the rank of Captain before retiring in 1962. Brock attended Wake Forest University on a football scholarship, playing right guard for coach Peahead Walker's Demon Deacons while studying chemistry and biology. He earned his M.D. at Wake Forest's Bowman Gray Medical School in 1952 and completed at internship at Birmingham's Jefferson Hillman Hospital in 1953 and a four-year residency in orthopedic surgery under John Sherill at University Hospital.

Brock met his future wife, nurse anesthetist Hannah Culpepper, during his residency. They married and moved together to Tuscaloosa where he began his career as an orthopedic surgeon. In 1959 he accepted Bear Bryant's invitation to serve as a team physician for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team and served in that capacity for 25 years. In 2012 the University dedicated the examination room at the Mal Moore Athletic Building in his honor.

Brock was appointed at various times to the Alabama Board of Health, the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, and the Alabama Board of Censors, which reviews the licenses granted to physicians and medical facilities. He also served as president of the Alabama Orthopedic Society, the Orthopedic Society of Sports Medicine, and the Alabama Medical Association. He also served on the Alabama State Crippled Children's Service.

Brock retired from practice in 1992. He died in 2016 after a stay at the Hospice of West Alabama. He was survived by his wife, Hannah, three children: Rita, Greg and Becky; and eight grandchildren.