Lake Tahoe physicians head to Sochi
Two of Lake Tahoe’s finest are heading to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, but not to compete. Terrence Orr, MD, and Jonathan Finnoff, DO, both physicians with Tahoe Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, will be volunteer physicians at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb 7-23.
Orr is a seasoned veteran of Olympic athlete medical care. His role is head physician for the U.S. men’s Alpine Ski Team — a position he has held since 1999.
“The Olympics has always been my favorite sporting event, and it has been great to be able to be a part of the Games,” he said.
The sport is obviously a high-speed endeavor, since Olympians may reach speeds as high as 95 miles per hour, depending on conditions, equipment, and body composition during the men’s alpine ski events.
Orr voluntarily provides his medical expertise to the men’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team at training camps, work championships, and World Cup races and finals.
“When the physicians who have been there by the athlete’s side during their competitions are able to follow them through to the Olympics, it gives the athlete a sense of ease, because we know them, their medical background, as well as the sport,” he said.
Orr has dedicated most of his orthopedic career to treating the world’s top winter athletes, including such Olympians Daron Rahlves and Marco Sullivan, who are both Lake Tahoe products. Rahlves, a three-time Olympian, knows the value of having your team physician with you on the road.
“When you travel someplace new, it’s not only imperative to have someone experienced who really knows the team, but someone you trust and has been around for a while,” Rahlves said.
Finnoff is making the nearly 7,000-mile trek to Sochi this winter to support the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team. Nordic combined consists of ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Formerly a physician with the Mayo Clinic, Finnoff has worked with the U.S. Ski Team since 2003. He became involved with the team during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, where he was the director of the Athlete’s Medical Clinic.
“I am honored to be among the medical team supporting such a talented group of athletes,” Finnoff said. “It has been great to see all their hard work pay off. Over the past eight years, they have won World Cup races, world championship titles, and achieved Olympic glory. Keeping the athletes healthy is one of the keys to their success. That’s where the medical team comes in to play. Every time they stand on the podium, I feel pride in the knowledge that I helped them achieve their goals.”
While sports-related injuries are certainly part of their work at the Olympics, the medical concerns for athletes covers a broad range of medical issues, including infections and asthma.
“It is important to realize that what would be a minor cold or flare up of asthma for a normal person becomes a serious medical issue for someone who is competing at a world-class level against equally talented athletes. Keeping the athletes healthy is critical for them to perform at their best,” Finnoff said.
Editor’s note: Follow Dr. Finnoff and Dr. Orr during the Olympic Games in February. Each day, they will provide behind the scenes photos and stories with our Olympic athletes in Sochi. The exclusive footage – “like” Barton — can be found on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bartonhealth<http://www.facebook.com/bartonhealth>). Or follow Barton’s Olympic doctors on Twitter (www.twitter.com/bartonhealth<http://www.twitter.com/bartonhealth>). To schedule an appointment with a physician at one of their four locations in California and Nevada at Tahoe Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, call 530-541-3100.