Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Blog Address

Dr. Scott Rodeo will return as the Team Physician for U.S. Swimming for the London 2012 Olympic Games. His blog posts can be found at HSS Playbook, so be sure to bookmark the page!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Some final thoughts

Yesterday was the last day of the Games. I assisted with medical coverage of the marathon in the morning. Luckily the weather cooperated and it was not too hot or humid, so there were no problems with excessive dehydration. Most of the injuries that we see in distance runners are overuse injuries, such as stress fractures of the lower extremity (foot, tibia, etc.).

Last night I marched in the Closing Ceremonies with the athletes. We had a blast! The Chinese really put on a show! The ceremony was quite an extravaganza---London has a tough act to follow for 2012. Part of the closing Ceremony is the "handoff" of the Olympic flag from Beijing to London. David Beckham came in on a London-style double decker bus. Quite a show!

One of the best parts of the Closing Ceremony is the chance to mingle with many of the athletes who we have treated and come to know over the past 3 weeks. We also met many athletes from other countries. This is the real unique part of the Olympics: the chance to meet so many different people from all over the world, on a "level" playing field. It definitely makes one realize that people are much the same anywhere one goes. That seems like a pretty good lesson.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sports medicine in a Beijing hospital

Today I was given a tour of the Sports Medicine department of the Peking University 3rd National Hospital, which is the largest sports medicine department in Beijing. It was fascinating to see how they do things and to compare treatment and rehabilitation regimens. Overall, their treatment protocols are similar to what we do in the U.S., although there are some differences. Of note, patients stay in the hospital for 4-8 days for procedures that we do as an outpatient in the U.S. However, their ultimate outcomes and return to sports timeline is very similar to ours. We visited the bed side of several post-operative patients, including a professional football (soccer) player. We then had dinner with several physicians, and I met a medical student whose father had worked in research at our hospital with my good friend and mentor Peter Torzilli. Very small world! Another lesson there about the Olympic Games: sports really does bring people together and proves that it truly is a small world.

A great Olympic smorgasbord experience

Yesterday was a great Olympic smorgasbord experience, as I was able to see and provide medical coverage for a variety of events. I provided medical coverage for the "marathon" swim (10 kilometer) in the morning, synchronized swimming in the afternoon, women's 10 meter platform diving in the evening, then went to the National Stadium ("Birds Nest") for track and field at night. Quite a day! One of the great things about the Olympic Games is the opportunity to see so many world class events and athletes in the same day. At the track last night I had the opportunity to watch several track athletes who I had treated in competition.

This was the first time that there was a 10 kilometer swim in the Olympic Games. This is essentially an "open water" swim, which is a growing sport internationally. The event is being held at the rowing venue, which is a man-made course. The swimmers complete 4 laps of a 2.5 kilometer course. There are distinct challenges in distance swimming, somewhat akin to the marathon run. The athletes need to feed and drink during the race. This is done by coaches using a long stick to pass food/drink to the athlete at "feeding stations" on a dock. Hypothermia is a concern in many open water races that are swam in lakes or ocean. However, since this race was contested in a relatively shallow basin, the water was warm. Dehydration is a concern in these situations, so we assured that the athletes maintain appropriate hydration. The race lasts approximately 2 hours, similar to a marathon run. The race was won by a Dutch athlete who had previously been treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma (this has been widely reported in the press), making for a great story.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Swimming history

The last 2 days have been as exciting as any that I have ever seen in swimming, and I would venture to say as exciting as any 2 days in swimming history. It all started with Michael Phelps' come from behind win by .01 second in the 100 butterfly. That win was an example of an athlete who just seemed to want it more than his competitors. Great swimmers have a way of getting their hand on the wall first in close races. It was all the more amazing given the circumstances, as this was his 7th gold medal, tying Mark Spitz and keeping his streak alive. The thing that seems to set Michael apart from others is the way he elevates his performance when the stakes are the highest.

After swimming was over in the morning, I covered the women's 3 meter springboard diving semi-finals. The U.S. had 2 divers (Nacilea Foster and Christina Loukas) who advanced to the finals. After covering the diving event I was able to go the National Stadium ("Birds Nest") to see some track and field, including the men's 100 meter final, which was won by Usain Bolt from Jamaica in an amazing world record time of 9.69. Since I have always enjoyed track and field, I would say that yesterday was one of the best days of sports I have ever seen, with these 2 marquee events (M. Phelps' 7th win and the men's 100 meter run) --- right up there with the NY Giants' Super Bowl win. One of the great things about the Olympics is the opportunity to see such great performances in different sports all in the same week or even in the same day!

Although it would be hard to top yesterday's excitement, today may have done so as M. Phelps won his record 8th gold medal. This was especially fun because it was the result of a great team effort on the men's 400 meter medley relay. The team consisted of Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Phelps, and Jason Lezak. I was especially happy for these guys because I have known them all for over 4 years, as all 4 were on the 2004 Athens Olympic team. All are classy individuals and great ambassadors for the sport and for all U.S. athletes. The media and security presence was pretty crazy after Michael's 8th win.

Another great story from swimming has been Dara Torres, the 41 year-old swimmer (and mother!). She won a silver medal today in the 50 meter sprint freestyle, just missing winning the gold by .01 second. She made her first Olympic team in 1984! This is Dara's 5th Olympic team, which no swimmer has ever done. Obviously an inspiration to lots of middle-aged folks! We can learn from performances such as Dara's. The Olympic Games offer lots of examples of the limits of performance being re-defined, and this is one more example.

On the medical side of things, I have continued to treat both gastrointestinal illness as well as sinusitis, upper respiratory conditions, coughs, and sore throats. We have also had a few minor injuries in swimmers (finger, elbow) which occurred from a forceful finish. As Phelps demonstrated, a swimmer may hit the wall hard in an effort to get there first. Neither turned out to be serious injuries. I have treated several track and field athletes with various musculoskeletal injuries. I have also treated other Americans here, including family members, officials, and members of the media. As a physician, I am happy to help all Americans here!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another great morning at the pool

We had another great morning at the pool today: 3 gold (all in world record times), 1 silver, 2 bronze. Ryan Lochte won bronze (missed silver by .01 second) in the 200 Individual Medley just 25 minutes after winning the 200 backstroke. That is a very impressive double. Another athlete with amazing performances is Natalie Coughlin. She has won 5 medals, including a gold in the 100 meter backstroke.

On the medical side, the gastrointestinal issues are still occuring, but are responding well to treatment. My wife (Christine Frissora) is a gastroenterologist, so I have an expert to consult! I have also received expert advice from Dr. Brad Connor, a travel medicine specialist in New York City.

I have helped treat several of the U.S. Track and Field athletes. Their competition started yesterday.

I have also been covering the diving competition. As a physician covering diving, I am prepared for possible head or spinal injury that could occur from contact with the platform. We are also prepared with the appropriate equipment for initial immobilization and treatment of possible head or spinal injury. Common injuries in divers include lumbar spine, shoulder, wrist, and elbow problems. The divers do some gymnastics type of training which can lead to lumbar spine problems.

Another exciting story here was the first and second place finish in the women's gymnastics all-around. One of the great things about the Olympics is the numerous events that are all occuring simultaneously. Although we are so focused on swimming right now, there are equally great competitions going on all over Beijing. Off to the competition now...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Breaking world records

We have had 3 amazing days of swimming competition. So far Michael Phelps is 3 for 3, all in World Record times. It is a privilege to help take care of the greatest swimmer ever.

I imagine everyone saw or heard about the Men's 400 meter Freestyle relay. This is one of the marquee events of the Games, and the U.S. won with a truly incredible performance, breaking the world record by 4 seconds and just edging out the favored French team. I remember standing on the sidelines at the Superbowl this past January with the Giants and during the last drive I was thinking that it was just like an Olympics final: it is something an athlete has trained for since they were a kid and careers could be defined based on what happens on the next 5 minutes. Well, the Men's 400 meter Freestyle relay was just the same. I guess you could say that the relay swim was like the Giants last (winning) drive in the Superbowl. The anchor leg (Jason Lezak) was like Tyree's catch against his helmet. This is one of the things I love about sports: to achieve at this level, someone has to step up and do something special. As is said in football: Big players make big plays in big games...

On the medical side, I have kept busy treating gastrointestinal upset and traveller's diarrhea. This is rather common (almost expected) in new environments with changes in food, water, etc. I have also been busy accompanying our athletes during the drug testing process. Both urine and blood samples are being analyzed. The top 5 finishers in each event are tested, as well other random athletes. I am there to ensure that the protocols are followed very carefully.