U.S Olympic Traning Center

U.S Olympic Traning Center

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!