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2012 Olympics: Providing Medical Care to the USA Olympic Open Water Swimming Team

Bonjour from Quebec, Canada, where I am supporting the athletes of the USA Olympic Open Water Swimming Team as their athletic trainer.  We have been training here since July 21st.  Last week we moved training camp up north 3.5 hours to the town of Robervaland competed in a World Cup 10k race that the town was hosting.  Our swimmers faired quite well taking home one gold and two silver medals.  We are now back to our “home base” training camp situated on a beautiful lake here in Quebec City.  When we aren’t training in the lake, we utilize the pool at a local university. We have a great group of athletes and staff on board, most of whom I had the opportunity of working with at last summer’s World Championships in Shanghai, China.  Our days are long as our morning training sessions begin at 7am.  After a few more days of training we will fly to London and continue our preparations for the competition that will take place on August 9th and 10th at Hyde Park in London.

My role as an athletic trainer is multifaceted. The daily management of injuries no matter how slight is in the forefront of the job, as preparing the athletes for another day of training is crucial in their preparations.  Therapeutic interventions include therapeutic exercise, soft tissue massage, joint mobilizations and therapeutic modalities.  Ensuring that proper hydration is maintained is also a major responsibility.  When called upon, I may be asked to assist with doping control.  I work very closely with our Team Physician.  Our daily interactive communication not only serves our team well but demonstrates a real team approach to sports medicine.  Sharing different treatment approaches to various injuries truly makes for a great educational experience.

I feel extremely fortunate and proud to have been selected to the USA Medical Staff for these London Olympic Games.  When we arrive in London, my prime responsibility will be to continue to support our athletes and staff of the Open Water Team.  I will also have the opportunity to assist the other medical professionals selected to support Team USA as we prepare these athletes to perform to the best of their abilities.  I am hopeful that the experience that I gained from being on the 2008 Beijing Olympic staff and other international competitions over the years will assist me in doing so. GO USA!

John Cavanaugh, PT, MEd, ATC, SCS, is the Clinical Supervisor at the Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery. He serves as an athletic trainer for the U.S.A. Olympic Open Water Swimming Team.

Topics: Performance
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