Team USA’s Chief Medical Officer Shares Observations from Sochi Olympics: Alpine Orthopaedics’ Dr. Gloria Beim Discusses Health Issues, Trends Among Elite Athletes

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Tips learned from Olympians can apply to every level of athlete from weekend warriors to recreational activity.

Gloria Beim, M.D., as chief medical officer for Team USA at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia recently returned from her experience with several insights.

As a front-row spectator to the Olympics and many other world-class competitions to which she has witnessed, Beim observed the drama, the athletes’ dedication and their efforts leading up to each event.

“I am continually amazed at the level of achievement of these incredible athletes,” Beim said. “From treating elite athletes at the Olympics and other world-class competitions, I’ve learned a lot that any athlete – professional or recreational – can apply.”

The top five things Beim has learned from elite athletes include:

1. If you train your body regularly all year round, muscle overuse injuries are less likely to occur. “When I see injured skiers who only ski a couple of weeks a year, often I learn they do not exercise much the rest of the year. As a result, they are more likely to get both acute and chronic injuries. It is very important to cross train in-between sporting activities.”

2. The more important a sport is to athletes, the more devastated they are if they become injured. “I see this in all of my athletic patients no matter their performance level, but it appears to be most devastating to the Olympic and elite athletes as competition is essentially their life.”

3. Even an elite athlete who trains constantly can still have muscular imbalances that can lead to overuse injuries. “This confirms my philosophy that if you do not have good muscular balance (even though you may train hours per day), the biomechanics of the joint or extremity can be poor, and thus lead to these overuse injuries.”

4. Traveling around the world can affect your ability to train and perform. It is really important that if you do travel (for example, to Australia to ski during our summer), it is important to acclimate yourself before tackling your activity too aggressively. It is wise to spend a couple of days getting back on track with your system before pushing yourself too hard.

5. Working with elite athletes, particularly Olympians, is incredibly inspiring. “It makes me want to be a better athlete and motivates me to get all of my patients back to their sport as soon as possible.”

About Alpine Orthopaedics
Beim founded Alpine Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine and Regional Hand Center in 1999. The clinic maintains offices in Gunnison, Crested Butte and Telluride, Colo., and also operates a surgical center in Gunnison. The mission of Alpine Orthopaedics is to prevent injuries and maximize performance for each patient. To that end, Alpine Orthopaedics’ medical team focuses on personalized service and education to meet the lifestyle, athletic and functional needs of patients. Beim and her colleagues believe in employing a variety of care modalities, from acupuncture and massage to ultrasound guided treatments and physical therapy, with the goal of avoiding surgery whenever possible. The clinic employs state-of-the-art equipment and techniques, including musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound. For more information, visit

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Jane Dvorak

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