U.S Olympic Traning Center

U.S Olympic Traning Center

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fun after Work and Intern Olympics!!

To help keep athletes, staff and interns happy who live on complex the U.S.O.C. made a special deal with the Denver Nuggets and get us all half priced tickets as an Olympic Appreciation night. We ended up getting great seats and the athletes even got a private box. At half time we had a promotional movie play and they invited all the athletes down to the court. After the game as another special treat we got to go down to court after it was over and shoot hoops! It was truly a once in a life time opportunity! Other awesome events included coordinating an intern hiking trip to the mountains. We ended up with 6 people and we went to Estes Park to hike/snowshoe in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The trip could not have been more perfect! We had gorgeous weather and did some truly epic hikes to summit a mountain at 10,000 feet above sea level.

As part of our internship the intern class participates in “Intern Olympics”. This activity is held every Monday night where the 4 intern teams complete against each other in Olympic events. The activity is a big event on complex since we actually recruit athletes and coaches to teach us the sport events before we battle it out. The events so far have consisted of Water Polo, a 5K run (placed 8th out of 16) sitting volleyball (2nd) , kickball (1st), Team Handball (1st undefeated) and the making of an NCAA March madness bracket (personally placed last out of 20 haha) The best event so far has been shooting both air rifle and air pistol. I had pulled a few strings with the resident athlete shooters on complex and got some of the shooters to not only give me some pointers but give me a private lesson. The lesson worked and I actually won! There were about 20 of us that participated and I scored a 43/50 on air rifle and 45/50 on pistol! Everyone was so impressed the Paralympics shooting coach approached me after and told me I should pursue my shooting career! I guess coming from Alabama had its advantages. Look out for me in the Olympics- London 2012! The intern Olympics have been so far the best bonding experience with the intern class. Everyone really enjoys participating and the standings so far has my team in 2nd place with 3 points between 1st and 15pts in front of 3rd , unfortunately the 4th place team is behind 100 pts.

More Fun on the Job...

Alright here it is…another summary of fun/interesting days at the job from the past 2 weeks.
One of the most beneficial parts of my job is the time that gets devoted to learning and teaching new rehab techniques. One day in particular, Kerry the PT, went over with myself and the other intern for about 1 ½ hrs common injuries. Within the time we went over shoulder impingement, hip replacement, knee replacement and patellar dislocation. On another day we sat in the rehab gym and brainstormed on creating 4 new exercises for an ACL tear with a gymnast. The athlete is progressing extremely fast with his injury and is getting bored with the exercises. After creating about 4 or 5 drills with a step box, weight ball, ladder and cones I worked with the athlete and implemented the exercises with him. Another teaching day took place when a male figure skater came into the clinic with a fractured 5th metatarsal in his left foot. The wild thing about this particular case is that he was not going to get a soft or hard cast on his foot because in 2 weeks he has to skate in the world championship in Italy. Therefore we only wrapped his foot in tape and whenever he wasn’t practicing and skating he was in the clinic doing ice baths to manage swelling and pain. However, about 2 days before leaving for Italy, he retuned to get a soft cast for support. After making the cast he wanted a little room to bend easier so we had to get out the saw and literally saw some of the cast off. Jenna the ATC was about to make her first cut when he screamed on the exam table! Jenna and myself included jumped and might have screamed ourselves thinking she had cut his foot. Of course he is a big jokester and was kidding. However, Jenna did not think the joke was funny. Other learning opportunities arose when working with Joe, a wrestler who is recovering from ACL surgery. He is progressing quickly and to make sure his rehab doesn’t get boring myself and his trainer did some brainstorming for new activities. To start Joe off we decided to so stool scoots. To make the activity even more fun we made Shayla race with him around the clinic. The object of the exercise is you sit on a doctor’s stool and use your heels to move and go around the clinic. The task seems easy but actually is extremely difficult for the length in which the course is set. The race was a much needed change in his rehab and everyone in the clinic had a good laugh watching them race!

Besides another teaching day, we received rehab equipment in the mail from an inventor. We tried to figure out how the contraption worked but almost ended of breaking it! The equipment obviously was not going to make it into the gym. The last random duty of the week was to run an errand and pick up some medical supplies for the physician exam room. I was pretty excited about the trip because I was going to be able to drive around the 2010 USA Tahoe. I definitely felt cool driving around town in the Tahoe until I had to go inside Walgreens and purchase 15 Urinary Tract infection tests. Let’s just say it was a really embarrassing moment.

I Love My Job....

So far my internship has reached the two month mark and I couldn’t be happier. I can honestly say it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I not only love my job but all the people I have met thus far. The staff here at the clinic and throughout the complex is some of the nicest people I have ever met. I have even befriended a handful of athletes who I not only eat with but hangout with on and off complex.

The past few weeks have been busy. As an intern in the clinic I was required to meet three goals of my choice while completing my internship and have been working to complete them. Thus far, I have completed my first goal of learning about each rehab modality and actually learning how to use them with athletes. After learning about what each modality does and what injuries require what specific modality, I was ready to use my new skills. In no time at all I got my first recurring patient; a wrestler who has acute pain in his right shoulder located in the AC joint. So far I have done laser treatments on his shoulder 4 times over the past two weeks. Besides laser treatment, I have administered electric stem, set up athletes on the “Game Ready” and “Normatec Pro” systems. I also learned about the diagnostic ultrasound machine and Joe an ATC did a demonstration on Shayla’s (the other clinic intern) ankle to show how the machine works. The day before, Shayla had fell and hurt her ankle so we actually could see the images of her tendon sprain. Besides the smaller modalities, I have learned all about our x-ray system. The x-ray we have here in the clinic was donated to us by Kodak and is priced at 500,000 dollars. As a small project, I was to type out all the radiologist notes from all the x-rays from the past two months and put them in each athletes file. The project took almost all day since there were about 45 x-rays to print. While typing each report, Dustin told to me to write down the interesting ones and he would show me the actual x-rays. I wrote down about 10 of the most interesting and for about 30 minutes we had “x-ray class” and he taught me all about x-ray and how to read the x-ray images.

With my knowledge and time here extending, the staff has felt confident to allow me more responsibilities within the clinic. One of the major assignments was to work with Dr. Moreau the clinic manger and begin assisting him with treatments of patients from beginning to end. The first athlete I worked with was a figure skater who came into the clinic extremely sick. I began the initial evaluation and Dr. Moreau even had me diagnose the symptoms. This particular case was quite interesting since I had to accompany the patient to the restroom about 6 times within the evaluation because she kept getting sick. Eventually we were unable to handle the seriousness of the issue and actually sent the patient to the emergency room to control her nausea. To complete the treatment I had to do a follow up the next day and turns out she was diagnosed with food poisoning. Other huge projects included the task the calling every single NBG or National governing body of each sport which is about 40 or so and locate their updated accident/injury insurance policy. The task at first was pretty daunting since we were not even given names or numbers to contact. We began the project by surfing the internet finding national team office numbers. After we got a phone number we took turns calling sports looking for the needed documents. The responses have definitely been interesting to say the least. When we would call the offices, they would either have no idea what I was even asking for or they could send the document almost immediately. The project has now taken over two weeks to complete but within the next few days all sports should have all the documents submitted.
Along with duties as the sports med intern I also work in the recovery center. Sarah, the full time employee, was taking a vacation from Thursday to Sunday so the recovery center was left in my complete care. Working in the recovery center for the full day meant I had to work the 12-8 shift with no dinner break! The recovery center is always fun cause not only is it a change in scenery but its fun to socialize with athletes and talk about their training, where they keep their Olympic medals and what they do for fun. They are always interested about what interns do and especially what Alabama is like because I guess we have a lot of stereotypes and they like the southern accent when I talk. While working, I did all the random chores of laundry, filling shampoo bottles in the locker room, cleaning the flip flops they wear, stocking the drinks and snacks and scheduling all the athletes for their weekly massages.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Big events at the Complex!

One of the biggest events of the past few weeks has been the Kit Carson and Dave Shultz international wrestling competition. These two tournaments are huge in the wrestling world and were both held here on the complex for about a week. For the tournament, we had both men’s Greco and freestyle wrestling and women’s freestyle participate. The tournament brought in 15 countries which included China, Japan, India, Bulgaria, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Armenia and Argentina just to name a few. All international athletes, coaches and staff stayed on campus and we were at fully capacity! (the Chinese team brought 60 people!) Since the tournament is such a big deal we brought in 4 volunteers to help out! (Chiropractor, ATC, PT, orthopedic surgeon) Over the week, we got to go and watch plenty of wrestling (which is really intense by the way!) There were plenty of injuries and plenty of powerade to make. The other intern and I even experimented and mixed yellow and blue to make green just for fun. The Chinese and Japanese team loved it and drank all 10 gallons in about 2 hours! Some of the injuries included; fractures, torn ligaments, cuts, sprains, and especially the infamous cauliflower ear. I even got to see cauliflower ear drained by the orthopedic surgeon, which was really gross but very interesting! Lastly during the week of competition one of the freestyle wrestlers taught me some moves and head locks so that I can protect myself when I move off to UAB and the big city in the fall! (haha).

Another huge competition held here on complex was the Rhythmic Gymnastics National Opener. This competition brought in 266 girls from age 6 to 18. Watching these girls was incredible! Their flexibility is amazing and actually pretty gross. I saw a girl do the splits with her feet sitting on the chairs and her coach pressing down on her shoulders so that her splits become inverted! With so many girls here they brought in a trainer from the USA gymnastics to help out. I accompanied her one day to the competition and she explained the sport to me in more detail. The sport itself is extremely old and traditional and is extremely popular in Eastern Europe. The girls are mostly first generation Americans with parents from eastern Europe who got them involved in the sport. The sport is a mix between ballet, gymnastics and dance. The girls compete in 5 different events with 5 different outfits and props. The routines are done on a gym floor with a carpet laid on top. They only were tiny slippers which causes significant damage to their bodies. (since they are on basketball courts) Most of the girls have or have had stress fractures in all their toes and the bones throughout the foot. Other common injuries include; stress fractures in the back and hips and broken ribs from extreme stretching and flexibility. Even with all the extremely painful injuries, all the girls still compete! One girl on the national team has a stress fracture in her tibia and she was still practicing! If anyone has free time I would definitely recommend watching some rhythmic gymnastics on youtube it is absolutely amazing!

I’ll keep you posted on more upcoming events!

The past few weeks at the job!

Over the past few weeks, I have seen and done tons of stuff in the clinic, some boring and definitely some interesting things too! Some of the most interesting things include learning about all the rehab equipment in the clinic including diagnostic ultrasound, laser, and electric stim. Besides learning about the use of the equipment, we have learned about stretching, taping injuries and designing rehab programs for athletes. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about rehab and everyday work with us to not only teach us but let us observe them at work. On most days the athletic trainers and PT’s let us accompany them to team practices to watch for fun but also watch therapy that goes on for athletes at practice. One of the most interesting practices is going with the PT Kerry to men’s gymnastics. There at practice, Kerry works on two of the guys who are 9 weeks post surgery. Watching the practices are so interesting because you not only get to watch but learn about the common injuries and the history of the sport in general. (side note and interesting fact- men gymnasts peak at around age 26 while women are in their early teens). The staff lets us look at the MRI’s and x-rays from athletes that come into the clinic. We have seen fractured hands, fractured transverse processes in the spine, pars fracture in the lower back and tons of ligament tears throughout the body.

The Past Few Weeks of Weekend Fun...

As I said, writing blogs a few weeks behind is a little confusing so instead I’ll just divide it up into topics till I can get caught up! The weekends thus far have been great! Although I haven’t even begun to see all the sites around town, like Garden of the Gods or the incline, I have stayed pretty busy. The first weekend I was here I went with three other interns to the NCAA Men’s gymnastics meet at the Air Force Academy to watch the US team compete with 5 other university teams for a friendly competition. The following weekend, I went snowshoeing in the mountains with another intern and then we went out as a group downtown to celebrate January birthdays. The next two weekends was spent working both Saturdays at the complex’s “recovery center”. This particular building on campus is a fully functional spa complete with hot tubs, cold plunges, saunas, steam rooms and massage tables. Saturdays are relatively easy, as I just man the desk and make sure the appropriate athletes are using the facility correctly.

Besides working the recovery center, the intern group has gone bowling, out to eat, to the movies, had a super bowl party and even went to the US women’s hockey game vs. Finland.
All the interns are so nice and since the winter games have started most week nights after work are spent in the lounge watching the events together. With plenty of weeks left in my stay here in Colorado, the group is planning big events and trips, like going skiing/snowboarding, hiking, going to a Denver Nuggets basketball game, baseball game and we are even planning intern Olympics. The intern Olympics are a big event where the interns are divided into 4 teams that compete against each other in Olympic events. Before each event coaches and athletes from the sports give us a quick lesson and then the games begin. Some of the events this year include; water polo, fencing, handball, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, 5K run, and an eating competition.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My First Week...

My blogs are a few weeks late but I will give you the summary of past weeks highlights, mishaps, and adventures. My first day started with a tour of the complex and medical clinic by two staff members who are certified athletic trainers and physical therapists. After the tour, I met with the other intern Shayla from Wisconsin who showed me the ropes of our daily duties as interns. On the complex, we have 20 other interns who work various jobs at departments in marketing, human resources, media, broadcasting and even with specific sports. Luckily, my job requires little time stuck in a cubicle and long hours behind a computer, instead I get to learn tools and techniques in rehab I will use in my career and of course socialize with athletes all day. (One of the great perks to my job) Besides my job, I stay here on complex and live in the dorms with the other interns and athletes. The complex is small and slowly it’s beginning to feel a lot like a family. All the athletes know each other and staff, and since you see each other everyday not only in the clinic but at every meal you become friends. Some athletes have lived here for 10 years and others plan on staying for the next 2 years to get to the Olympics in 2012. It’s pretty crazy to see the relationships between athletes, staff and even the chefs in the kitchen! (Who by the way are so nice and cook the most amazing food!) So speaking of food, the food here is amazing! We are feeding world class athletes some of who need up to 6000 calories a day of healthy delicious food, so there is plenty to eat and choose from. The selection is amazing and everyday a chef can make you an omelet however you want it in the morning and cook you a steak at dinner. The serving line is also lined with a fish option, chicken, vegetables fresh fruit and always pasta. The cafeteria even has a McDonald’s ice cream machine since they are a proud sponsor of the US Olympics!

So back to the daily life…

My second day of work was intern orientation with all the other interns from 8-5pm. At orientation we were briefed on rules, procedures, and how each department works. We even had guest speakers from each department sharing what they do and how they got here. Finally at the end of the day, they had a special treat for us. The Judo team and coaches were going to give us a Judo lesson. Judo is a type of martial arts that is one of the most participated sports in the summer Olympics. Judo is different in the fact that you try to pick up your competitor and throw them on the ground. The class started with us putting on the tradition uniform and learning both body tosses and head locks. After 2 hours of training we were put to the test in a scrimmage, and of course I was nominated from my team to participate. Luckily, I won but I think the guy let me win because he felt so bad for me.
The rest of the week was simple as I learned the ropes and began to meet the athletes and staff throughout the clinic. Just to give you an idea of the clinic we have 2 full time chiropractors, 1 full time physical therapist, and 3 full time athletic trainers. Currently, we have around 100 athletes living on complex with another 100-150 coming in daily to train who live off campus. To help with the number of athletes we have volunteer family practitioners, orthopedic surgeons and optometrists come three times a week. However, when camps, tournaments and competitions come to the complex we bring in outside volunteers from the community to live in the dorms and help throughout the duration of the competition. And just for some interesting facts inside the clinic we are fully equipped with a dental room, eye exam room, 2 physician’s rooms, x-rays, diagnostic ultrasound, rehab gym, 2 pools and 15 tables in the main lobby. (It is definitely a world class clinic!)

The Journey Begins... US Olympic Training Center... and Powerade making

As I began the grueling task of finding an internship that would not only meet the requirements of 600 hours, but one that would be able to hold my interest long enough was daunting. I began my search with looking at anything from camps to therapy centers. With nothing coming along, I took a drastic turn and put all my energy into getting to the Olympics. My dream internship would be to work with Paralympics athletes or for the Olympic movement in some form. To my amazement and luck, my dreams came true and I’m currently an intern for the United States Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, CO working for the sports medical clinic. So far the experience has been absolutely amazing. The people are incredibly nice and every intern contributes to not only the dynamic of the group but to our tasks on the job.

My first few weeks here in Colorado at the Olympic training center have been a dream. The Olympic spirit is in full blast and you can feel the excitement around the complex. As an intern, I live here on complex in dorms with the other 20 interns, resident athletes and coaches. I also gain access to eat as much as I want from the amazing dining facility and use any of the countless gyms. My jobs duties include working at the Sports Medicine clinic, where I work as the receptionist. Although the job has lots of administrative duties, I am mainly there to observe and learn therapy and rehab from staff since I begin therapy school in the fall at UAB. Daily duties of the job include normal activities like filing, copying, answering the phones and laundry; however, one of the most important daily duties is that of making all the Powerade for all the practices on complex throughout the day. Therefore, I am basically responsible for hydrating USA’s Olympic athletes. The task seems easy enough but the perfect Powerade recipe to the likings of world class athletes is an art form that takes weeks of practice. (I should know.) I learned this particular art form after making horribly disgusting batches of Powerade on my first day of work. The day was already doomed when I lost the directions on how to make Powerade and then decided how hard could it be, so I decided to not ask for help. Wrong decision, I ended up making weak and quite nasty yellow Powerade and delivering it to the U.S Men’s Wrestling team. Needless to say they were extremely upset at me. To finish the disaster of a morning, I made the U.S Men’s gymnastics team Powerade and it quote “tasted like pixie-stixs”. After that mishap, I got a crash course in Powerade making and have yet to mess up a batch!