Joseph Charles Maroonwas born in Wheeling, West Virginia. He was educated in the parochial schools in Bellaire, Ohio where his athletic abilities earned him an athletic scholarship to the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Indiana. As an undergraduate he was selected as a Scholastic All American in Football in Indiana. Following his undergraduate education, he obtained his medical and neurosurgical training at Indiana University, Georgetown University, Oxford University in England and a microsurgical Fellowship at the University of Vermont under R.M. Peardon Donaghy. He began his practice at the University of Pittsburgh in 1972 and was promoted to Professor and Director of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh-Presbyterian University Hospital.
In 1984, he joined Allegheny General Hospital as Chairman of Neurosurgery and in 1995 assumed the additional role as Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital/Medical College of Pennsylvania. In 1999, he rejoined the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh as Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department.
In 1986, he was honored by his peers when they elected him President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the largest society of neurosurgeons in North America. He has since been honored for his contributions in neurosurgery by the national neurosurgical societies of many foreign countries including Japan, Korea, Thailand, Egypt, Brazil and Lebanon. In 1999 he was selected in Beirut Lebanon to be the lifetime Honorary President of the World Association of Lebanese Neurosurgeons.
His publications number more than 225 and he is on the editorial board of five medical journals. He has authored or co-authored 40 book chapters and edited 3 books. He is on three neurological journal editorial boards and has introduced microsurgical and percutaneous techniques for the minimally invasive treatment of herniated lumbar discs. In 2002, he was nominated a Health Care Hero Lifetime Achievement Award finalist by the Pittsburgh Business Times and has been listed, for 8 consecutive years, as one of “America’s Best Neurosurgeons” in the publication of America’s Best Doctors. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Youth Foundation (AYF), an international organization that fosters leadership qualities in students.
Despite his busy professional schedule, Doctor Maroon has maintained his athletic interest by competing in over 50 triathlon events including Ironman triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run) in Hawaii (1993 and 2003), Canada (1995), New Zealand (1997) and Europe (2000). In 1999 he, along with Joe Montana and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar were inducted into the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame for his athletic accomplishments and contributions to sports medicine.