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8.16.2016

UHealth Doctors Return from Rio as Others Depart for the Games

Uhealth in Rio - Part 5

As the Olympics enter week two, the games are already over for some UHealth physicians who served as medical volunteers in Rio. But even as the first doctors to journey to Rio are now home – back with unforgettable memories and stories of amazing medical accomplishments — a second wave of UHealth clinicians has arrived at the games, ready to help the best athletes in the world should they be injured.

First to arrive back in Miami was Lee Kaplan, M.D., head of UHealth Sports Medicine. Kaplan worked with trauma surgeon Antonio Marttos, M.D., to coordinate which UHealth doctors would take part in the games.

“Rio 2016 was definitely a highlight of my career,” said Kaplan, “not only because of the number of ways in which we were able to help treat the athletes, but also because of the Olympic experience.”

Kaplan and his colleagues arrived three days before the games started. After getting their credentials, participating in a medical volunteer orientation led by Marttos and settling into their residence near the Olympic Village, Kaplan was able to visit a number of the competition venues and provide medical care to the athletes who were already doing structured practice rounds with judges observing. He also took part in the Opening Ceremony from the floor of the event.

“The Opening Ceremony was unlike anything I’ve ever attended,” Kaplan said. “To be able to share the thrill of it, surrounded by the greatest athletes in the world and next to my UHealth colleagues, made it all the more special.”

The next day, it was back to work, as men’s gymnastics got under way. But the start of competition was marred by a severe leg injury to one of the gymnasts. Kaplan was one of the first to reach the patient’s side and stabilized the leg.

“Moments like that drive home why we do what we do,” Kaplan said. “While it’s amazing to celebrate and be a part of something as special as the Olympics, and certainly you can’t help but feel patriotic as you see some of the greatest athletes in United States history, like Michael Phelps, walk by, it was the chance to make a difference in the life of an athlete whose Olympic dreams have been shattered that made my time in Rio so great.”

Kaplan was also impressed with the professionalism of his UHealth colleagues, as many worked beside him at men’s and women’s gymnastics.

“We have a very special and expert team of physicians at UHealth,” he said. “There is a reason that athletes from around the world come to us in Miami for medical advice, and it’s no surprise we were invited to volunteer at an event as prestigious as the Olympics. We were very well prepared and did what we had been trained to do. I’m so proud that the rest of the world’s medical community got to see that in Rio.”

Here are links to other recent stories about UHealth physicians in Rio:

UHealth Sports Medicine Doctor Fulfills Lifelong Gymnastics Dream

UHealth Trauma Surgeon Leads Rio’s Emergency Health Services During the Games

Surgical Residents Score Wins as Medical Volunteers in Rio

UHealth Physicians Ready to Dive into Action in Rio

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