Behind the Scenes at the Olympics

Simply earlier than this yr’s winter Olympics started in Sochi, Russia, I talked with Cindy Chang, M.D.—who served because the U.S. chief medical officer for the 2012 Summer season Olympic Video games in London and the Summer season Paralympic Video games in Beijing in 2008—about her Olympic recollections and what we’d anticipate to see in Sochi based mostly on her earlier experiences.

“Serving because the chief medical officer for my nation for each the Paralympic and Olympic athletes was a once-in-a-lifetime expertise, and full of recollections and friendships that can final without end,” stated Dr. Chang, former president of the American Medical Society for Sports activities Medication and the top crew doctor for UC Berkeley’s athletic groups from 1995 by means of 2008. “What impressed me most concerning the athletes was their capability to remain centered regardless of the busyness and pleasure.”

Listed below are six different attention-grabbing Olympics tidbits from Dr. Chang, who’s at present a sports activities medication specialist at UC Berkeley and a member of the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter Editorial Board.

  • Staff USA brings its personal drugs. “We don’t depend on the host nation,” stated Chang. The crew travels with the wanted medication as a result of the athletes are extra comfy with their very own nation’s drugs.
  • The most typical merchandise the Olympic Village pharmacy dispenses is…condoms. I’d have guessed that drugs to assist with chilly signs or ache can be probably the most continuously requested. However I used to be flawed. At the least the athletes play it secure.
  • The Winter Video games are extra hazardous for athletes than the Summer season Video games. “For the winter Olympics, most of the occasions—comparable to snowboarding and snowboarding, as a result of excessive elevation tips and excessive charges of speeds—carry larger dangers of accidents,” defined Dr. Chang.
  • Apart from accidents, the commonest diseases are usually…respiratory infections. However the medical doctors are at all times able to deal with nearly any sort of medical concern that arises. “Dermatological points additionally come up,” stated Dr. Chang. “At the least one athlete from the London video games had a really itchy dermatitis from mattress bugs.”
  • For some athletes, the Olympics are their alternative to maintain physician’s appointments. Many athletes, particularly those from the creating nations—that are unable to carry their very own medical groups alongside—get higher well being care within the host nation than at dwelling. Have cavities? No drawback. The host nation has dentists to maintain that!
  • There’s nice range within the USA medical crew. Well being care professionals vary from sports activities medication physicians (who’ve major care specialty coaching and sports activities medication coaching) to orthopedic surgeons, bodily therapists and athletic trainers. Chiropractors and therapeutic massage therapists are additionally readily available in case the athletes wish to benefit from their providers!
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