Olympic doctors say it's worth the sacrifices to make the team

Physicians from around the country are working behind the scenes at the Olympic Games to keep U.S. athletes in the competition.

American Medical News—July 30, 2012

As 525 U.S. Olympic athletes vie for their chance at glory and gold in the 2012 Summer Olympics, about 80 medical personnel are working in the background to help them fulfill their dreams.

U.S. team physicians must have a strong sports medicine background, said Scott A. Rodeo, M.D.  Dr. Rodeo is a team physician for the U.S. Olympic swim team and an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He said most team physicians start by working with a particular sport. They volunteer at one of the country’s three Olympic training centers then work domestic competitions and move up to international competitions, such as the World Championships or Pan American Games, he said.

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The rewards of service

As a former competitive swimmer, Dr. Rodeo said he understands the years of dedication and sacrifice the athletes have made to reach this level of competition.

“It is an honor to support these athletes in achieving their athletic goals,” he said.

This is Dr. Rodeo’s third Olympics. He said some of his most memorable experiences were supporting the U.S. swimming team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing when Michael Phelps won eight gold medals, and marching in the opening ceremonies at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

This article originally appeared on ama-assn.org/amednews.com.


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