Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic is on the Road to Sochi with the US Ski Team

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The Partners of Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic are pleased to announce that Dr. William (Scott) Kimmerly will be traveling with the US Ski Team to Austria to serve as their team medical provider and primary orthopaedic physician as they ready themselves for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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Dr. Scott Kimmerly (center) with members of the U.S. Women’s Alpine Ski Team including Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso.

The Olympic team is selected based on their performance with World Cup events. I am excited to be going with them to Austria for that important FIS World Cup race.

Atlanta’s oldest and most prestigious orthopaedic group, currently celebrating its 60th Anniversary, continues to be the top choice to support America’s Olympic hopefuls. Dr. Scott Kimmerly will be joining the US Ski Team in Lienz, Austria on December 27th for the FIS World Cup, Women’s Alpine. That race is just 4 weeks before the official Olympic squad is selected, and Dr. Kimmerly will be on the slopes ready to assist them with any medical or orthopaedic issue.

An elite group of physicians from around the country were selected to support various U.S. athletes during training and competition. In order to be chosen by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams, physicians have to complete a certification course every 5 years. Dr. Kimmerly has been supporting the teams since 2008 and is going back to renew his certification in early December in preparation for his trip with the team to Austria. “A lot of the course is lectures and tests, but part of it is on the mountain doing simulations of potential injuries and responses. That is not something I encounter here in Atlanta,” said Kimmerly. “They put actors on the slopes who play out 6 to 10 different injury scenarios. It gives me a whole new appreciation for the ski patrol who are handling these injuries every day.”

Dr. Kimmerly recently took a moment to answer some questions about his experiences with the U.S. Ski Team.

How has this training and experience helped you deal with the sports injuries you see with the Professional and Amateur athletes you treat in Atlanta?
As a sports medicine Doctor, the injuries I see have to be assessed immediately. It's been very helpful to be trained and to work in situations that require quick diagnosis and response. These men and women go very fast in cold, wet and oftentimes windy conditions. When you get comfortable dealing with injuries that result from an 80mph crash on the side of a mountain, it makes slower sports on soft turf easier to manage. The Ski team really prepares their medical staff for the conditions on the mountain.

Most people think of broken bones when they think of skiing. What are some other injuries that can occur even with a seasoned athlete?
Actually, broken bones are on the far end of the spectrum of injuries. More common are sprains or strains. A sprain is an injury to a ligament, typically in the knee, shoulder, wrist and ankle. A strain is usually to a muscle or tendon. Your average skiers don't condition themselves before skiing, and they can be sore and disabled just from a few runs on the slopes. Skiing is like other sports that require a body in motion, you have prepare your body for that motion.

We are just 12 weeks from the start of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, what are the Ski and Snowboard athletes doing at this point to protect their physical assets?
Right now, they are really working on fitness and gearing up for the World Cup season. They are focusing on speed and technique in their training. If there is a technique flaw, it can expose them to injury. The Olympic team is selected based on their performance with World Cup events. I am excited to be going with them to Austria for that important FIS World Cup race.

When you travel with the Athletes, and they are preparing for a competition, describe the feeling or the energy of the team?
The energy is incredibly intense. They are very focused. In a training camp, at the top of the mountain, they are chatting and joking around. When they are at a competition, there is not a lot of chatter. They are very dialed in to the moment. They are really concentrating. Some of them listen to music and all of them are visualizing their success. I’ve assisted the Denver Broncos and been in their locker room before a game. The energy is very similar. The intensity is palpable.

In addition to all of the technical aspects of an athlete's mindset as they are competing, what are all of the physical considerations they are keeping in mind as they run their various courses?
Particularly for the Alpine skiers, the emphasis is on core and lower extremity strength. From your abdomen to your toes is one kinetic chain, and they don't want to have a weak link from core to toe. They are strengthening their abdomen and pelvic muscles. Preparation and fitness is key for every athlete. Their aerobic fitness is extraordinary. They always focus on that physical fitness first, then it is about technique.

When you worked with the team in Chile at their training camp over the Summer, what was their daily routine?
Every morning they were working on technique on the slopes. Every afternoon they were on dry land working on fitness. Coming from my conventional background, theirs is a very different approach. They would do lots of isometric exercises, holding various positions for a long time. I am in pretty good shape, and I have tried to jump in and do that with them, but I couldn't hold some of those positions for more than 10 seconds.

I have worked almost exclusively with the Alpine skiers. They are divided between speed and technical. Often skiers are either speed or technical. If 20 athletes are on the women's team, 10 are speed and 10 are technical. They have completely separate training camps. Speed teams will work exclusively on speed events for weeks at a time, and the technical team will work on the technical events. Skiers like Vonn, Bode and Mancuso are equally skilled in speed and technical. People like Vonn will have to spend one week in one place and another week in a different place to work with the specialist in that area rather than staying in one place for several weeks.

Lindsey Vonn is the most successful American skier in history. She has two Olympic medals, five world championship medals and four overall World Cup titles. Last February, she crashed in the super-G at the world championships. She tore two ligaments and suffered a fracture in her knee. She told reporters recently that she is planning on concentrating on the giant slalom and the speed events to protect her knee. How are the giant slalom and speed events easier on her knees?
In the Alpine events, the Downhill is the fastest with the least number of turns. The Super G is slower with more turns, then the Giant Slalom is a bit slower with more turns. Finally, the Slalom is the slowest, but is all about pivoting and cutting throughout the race, so it is much tougher on a newly reconstructed ACL.

What is the training camp experience like for you?
When I am in a training camp in another country, I am sharing spaces with coaches, trainers, athletes, therapists and other doctors. The accommodations are not lavish. I am typically bunking up with the coaches or therapists. Some of the coaches are American, but most are Austrian. On the slopes, I have my trauma pack on and am with the coaches or on radio with the coaches. Listening to the instructions that coaches are giving the athletes has taught me a lot about the sport. The call that you hate is "One of our skiers is down in the middle of the course, and you have to ski down." That happens pretty much every day. My role quickly turns to Physician and First Responder. On a particularly rough weather day, the head coach said to me, "I don't care how long it takes you to get there, just get there safely because if you go down, we are in trouble."

Over the Summer, we were in very Southern Chile about 500 miles South of Santiago. I got the call that there was an athlete down on the course. I skied down to her and feared that she had a severe ankle fracture. Getting her to the medical hut was challenging, and unlike the training facilities here and in other countries, the medical hut at the camp was lacking in basic diagnostic equipment. The nearest x-ray machine was in town 45 minutes away. I don’t speak Spanish, and the coaches are Austrian and don’t speak Spanish, so I found some splinting material and gestured dramatically and butchered the little Spanish I know to talk our way onto a tour bus to get a ride into town so we could x-ray her ankle. Fortunately, the Doctor in town spoke English, and her ankle injury was not as bad as I originally feared. It took all day, but it was a big adventure, and everything turned out well.

What are some of the more interesting things you have witnessed?
All of the athletes’ prep is interesting to me because I have never been in that type of competitive situation. Most of them are all by themselves and in their own zone, really envisioning exactly what they are going to do on the course. Their focus is very intense. On the other hand, the Men's Alpine team had one coach who would yell into the skier’s helmet like a football coach when the skier was in the starting gate. He was really getting them revved up. They are at the top of a hill that's very steep, and they need to be fully committed and not timid at all. When you are about to fly down a steep hill that's iced over at 80 mph, you need a little encouragement.

About Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic (POC)

Founded in 1953, Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic (POC) is celebrating 60 years of serving the orthopaedic needs of the Atlanta community. The practice includes 31 board-certified physicians, with a wide range of subspecialty interests, and over 200 employees. POC offers eight convenient locations throughout Atlanta, as well as three physical rehabilitation locations, two state-of-the-art surgical centers and an MRI facility. As national leaders in the practice of sports medicine, POC physicians serve as team orthopaedists for the US Ski Team, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Georgia State University, the Gwinnett Braves and a variety of local high schools including Westminster, Lovett, Marist, Holy Innocents, Chamblee, Walton and North Atlanta High School. They also serve as advisors to the Atlanta Ballet.

The Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic Foundation, the philanthropic entity for private fundraising initiatives, supports the clinic’s long-standing humanitarian efforts in Haiti since 1957, POC physicians have donated time and supplies providing orthopaedic care to thousands of impoverished Haitians. The Georgia Shoulder and Elbow Foundation was formed in 2010 provide a forum for orthopaedic surgeons to discuss ideas and present scientific material related to the treatment of patients with shoulder and elbow disorders.

About William (Scott) Kimmerly, MD

Dr. Scott Kimmerly is an orthopedic surgeon at Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic in Atlanta. Dr. Kimmerly’s practice focuses on surgical and non-surgical management of knee, shoulder, elbow, and ankle disorders. He has additional training and expertise in advanced arthroscopic (minimally-invasive) techniques. Additionally, Dr. Kimmerly has a particular interest in traumatic musculoskeletal disorders including fractures and dislocations.

A native of Tennessee, Dr. Kimmerly received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his medical degree from the University of Tennessee, College of Medicine in Memphis. Dr. Kimmerly began his orthopedic training in Atlanta at Emory University. Upon completion of his orthopedic surgery residency, he was honored with selection for a one-year fellowship in sports medicine and advanced arthroscopic techniques at the prestigious Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado. After the sports medicine fellowship, Dr. Kimmerly was invited on a traveling fellowship focusing on complex traumatic and sports-related disorders of the lower extremity including stops at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, Oakland Bone and Joint Specialists (Dr. Roger Mann), OrthoCarolina Foot and Ankle Center (Dr. Robert Anderson), and the Southern California Orthopedic Institute.

Dr. Kimmerly began his orthopedic surgical practice upon completion of his training, when he was invited back to Vail joining the staff at Steadman-Hawkins. He and his family were eventually led back to Atlanta where he joined the orthopedic staff at Emory University, serving as assistant professor and associate director of the residency program. Dr. Kimmerly was recruited to join Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic in 2009.

Athletics has always been a passion for Dr. Kimmerly, and while his personal athletic career was unspectacular, he has been able to combine his professional career with his love for sports along the way. While in residency at Emory, he assisted in the care of Georgia Tech athletics for 4 years. During fellowship in Vail, he assisted in the medical care of elite athletes at the professional and Olympic levels, as well as with the care of the Denver Broncos professional football team. He is currently an official medical provider for both the United States Ski and Snowboard teams. He also serves as Team Physician for Walton High School. He serves as the medical director for the Wildcat Cup. Dr. Kimmerly has also served as medical director and event physician for multiple large athletic competitions including the Countrywide American Ski Classic in Vail, the Chevrolet US Snowboarding Grand Prix in Breckenridge, the Visa “Birds of Prey” in Beaver Creek, and the Atlanta Steeplechase .

Dr. Kimmerly has been involved in research in the field of orthopedics and has authored numerous orthopedic publications, presentations, and video demonstrations. He has served as course director for several educational conferences. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is an active member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the Georgia Orthopaedic Society. Dr. Kimmerly additionally holds a Subspecialty Certification in the field of Orthopaedic Sports Medicine from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

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