Right-of-passage for Ski Town Sports Medicine Docs

Serving as a member of the US Ski Team physician pool is a right-of-passage for sports medicine physicians. It’s a volunteer commitment and requires a doctor to travel for at least a week a year with the team and be on site at training camps and competitions. Many surgeons at SOSI have volunteered for at least one discipline with the US ski team and all together SOSI has about 40 years of experience covering World Cup, World Championship and Olympic events.

“Many of our surgeons at SOSI have volunteered in this capacity for the US team. The experience provides a ton of experience covering everything from concussions to Orthopaedic and Spine Injuries. SOSI’s focus also includes serving the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club at a local level – providing world class care to up-and-coming athletes, some of whom will become Olympians,” said SOSI partner Dr. Andreas Sauerbrey.

Dr. Andreas Sauerbrey’s passion for freestyle skiing inspired him to volunteer as a physician for the US team starting in 2003. In 2007, he was honored to be chosen as the US freestyle head ski team physician, from a pool of over 160 physician volunteers. At that time, the head ski team physician oversaw the team and all medical decisions concerning the team for a four-year term. (The duration of the commitment has changed since then). The head physician attends all athlete annual physicals, oversees all injuries at home and abroad and oversees care of injuries through recovery. Dr. Sauerbrey’s four-year commitment to the freestyle team included the 2009 Freestyle World Champs in Fukushima, Japan, the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and the 2011 Freestyle World Champs in Deer Valley, Utah.

SOSI partner Dr. Michael Sisk also served the freestyle team as a volunteer physician. As a freestyle skier himself, the team was a natural fit and over a 15-year period he was lucky enough to visit just about every freestyle stop on the tour around the world. “It allowed me to visit countries that perhaps I wouldn’t have visited otherwise and to meet and treat some real characters,” he said. “The US team is one of just a few that had traveling physicians. Invariably we ended up treating just about everyone no matter what flag they skied for. It was an amazing experience and I have banked some priceless memories and made lifelong friends. The experience left me very proud of our athletes and our country.”

Dr. Adam Wilson started working with the US Ski & Snowboard teams as part of the physician pool during his fellowship at Taos Orthopaedic Institute. In 2016, after spending two weeks with the US Snowboardcross Team covering a training camp in Pitztal, Austria he was committed. “The personality of the team, coaches, PTs, and myself worked very well together and I knew they were a team that I would definitely enjoy. I have been working with the Snowboardcross Team since then,” Dr. Wilson said. While living and working in France the following winter, Dr. Wilson had the opportunity to spend another five weeks with the team while they traveled in Europe.

He usually travels with the team for one or two races a year to provide medical advice and oversee any treatment obtained in foreign countries. If necessary, he would coordinate with the US Ski Team staff in Park City, Utah to get an athlete home for treatment in the US. In addition, Dr. Wilson is always available to the athletes for phone or text consultations when he’s not with the team. “My close relationship with the team and staff has been very helpful for my role as a team physician,” he added.

When he moved to Routt County, Colorado to join SOSI in 2018, Dr. Alejandro Miranda quickly  became involved with the US ski and snowboard team. He completed the required training through the team and  first traveled with the US  Boardercross team in 2019. “Taking care of athletes who are among the elite in their sport is rewarding. They have dedicated so much of their time to get there so you feel that level of intensity and dedication. Obviously, there are so many coaches, technicians, wax techs, people who are integral and so my role is more peripheral, until it’s not I guess,” said Dr. Miranda. “Honestly, my favorite memories are snowboarding with the athletes, here in Steamboat with Mick Dierdorff who lives here, and overseas when I travel with the team. After a training session or even a competition day, we’ll get a few runs in and maybe, spend some time over a meal together.”