By Contributing Writer - February 07, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! If you’re watching the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 you may see a familiar face in Pit Lane. Moffitt Cancer Center’s Dr. Bruce Brunson spends his days working in our Revenue Cycle and weekends officiating NASCAR sportscar races.
From growing up down the street from Elvis and visiting the King of Rock 'n' Roll late at night at Graceland to being in Memphis the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Dr. Bruce Brunson has always led an exciting life.
Dr. Brunson knew from an early age he wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Jokingly he refers to himself as Doogie Howser because he looked so young when he graduated medical school during the middle of the Vietnam War. He got deferred from going to Vietnam and ended up being stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, where he became the first neurosurgeon in the Air Force in Alaska.
After a few years, life took him from the Last Frontier to the House of Mouse as he journeyed from Alaska to Orlando where he worked at a Level I trauma center hospital for 25 years. He loved being a neurosurgeon, but also pursued his passion for race car driving on the weekends. He did all of his own work on his race car and was thrilled when he got an opportunity to serve as the Medical Director for the International Motorsports Association, which is now owned by NASCAR.
Brunson knows first-hand the dangers of car racing. When he was a resident he attended a race and witnessed a car go off the track and lose a tire, which hit and killed a fan in the stands. Years down the road, he wrecked his own race car and suffered a pinched nerve and slipped disc. Unfortunately, his injuries eventually ended his career as a neurosurgeon and he took an administration role at the hospital. However, the accident did not diminish his love of car racing and he’s been a Pit Lane Official for the last 20 years.
While on an airplane, he read an article about medical coding, so he took a class and got certified. From there he got certified as a medical auditor and joined Moffitt in May 2015, where he is the HIM Physician Advisor.
Brunson remains on Pit Lane and travels to races throughout the United States and Canada.