Dr. Martin E. Blazina, an orthopedic surgeon who was a pioneer in the fields of sports medicine and total joint replacement, has died at his Encino home. He was 68.
Blazina died Saturday of cancer, said Jacque Fontaine, Blazina's personal business manager.
Born in Illinois, he served in the the U.S. Navy during World War II. He began his medical career in 1952 after graduating from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago.
He was a clinical instructor and associate professor of orthopedic surgery at UCLA from 1958 to 1971. Blazina was in private practice with the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Inglewood from 1971 until 1976 when he established a practice in Sherman Oaks, which became known as the Blazina Orthopedic Clinic.
Blazina sought to understand individual sports and the types of injuries that were most common to them, colleagues said.
"He developed the concept of getting the athlete back fast by rehabilitation and understanding the problems of playing sports," said Dr. Clarence Shields, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine.
Blazina also developed an early version of an artificial knee ligament and advocated replacing only the damaged part of the joint instead of the entire joint, said Shields.
Blazina is survived by his wife, Jane Blazina; son, Michael Blazina of San Diego, and daughter, Mary Beth Jorgensen of Sherman Oaks.
Visitation is planned from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at Forest Lawn Mortuary, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive in the Hollywood Hills, which is handling the arrangements. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 7:30 tonight at St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church, 15520 Ventura Blvd., Encino. Burial will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, Hollywood Hills.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Blazina Scholarship Fund at the UCLA School of Medicine, Health Sciences Development Office, 10833 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles 90024.