Working at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs
I recently had the honor of spending 2 weeks working at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, as part of the USOC medical volunteer program. Being invited to volunteer in this program is the first step on the path towards becoming a member of future Olympic Games medical staffs.
The U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs is the flagship training center in the country. It sits on a beautiful 35-acre complex, and houses the headquarters for USA Swimming, as well as multiple sport venues and training facilities for fencing, gymnastics, judo, modern pentathlon, shooting, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling. This complex serves as not only a training center, but also a home, to the hundreds of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes that live here year-round, as they work towards achieving their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.
The sports medicine and sport science center at Colorado Springs is state-of-the-art, and the clinic is run by a dedicated staff of chiropractors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and massage therapists. This highly skilled staff, in addition to the volunteers that travel from all over the country to work in the clinic, ensure that all medical and rehabilitation needs of each and every athlete are met, in order to enhance their health and ultimately their performance.
During the course of my 2 week rotation, I had an opportunity to work with athletes from a variety of different sports, including fencing, track cycling, judo, shooting and gymnastics. I was amazed by the physical abilities of these Team USA athletes, in particular the Paralympic athletes, who have overcome so much to excel in their chosen sport. I was truly inspired by their spirit and positive attitude towards becoming the best they can possibly be.
I must admit that my favorite part of my daily routine at the OTC was breakfast, lunch and dinner! The cafeteria at the training center was exceptional, with a wide variety of highly nutritious and delicious food, it really was quite something. They serve over 500,000 meals per year, and do a wonderful job in fueling America’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, with the occasional ‘ice cream night’ thrown in for good measure!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and I look forward to using the skills and information I learned to better help the athletes, of all levels and abilities, that I meet at Hospital for Special Surgery every day.
Go Team USA!
Aisling Toolan is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the Rehabilitation Department at Hospital for Special Surgery.