They're Fans & Team Physicians, Local Doctors Treat Elite Athlet - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

They're Fans & Team Physicians, Local Doctors Treat Elite Athletes

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While the world watches their favorite elite athletes go for Olympic gold in Sochi, the athletes' team physicians will be watching them, too, but with a different perspective.  Two doctors at Sanford Health in Fargo have ties to some of the athletes that will be competing in the Winter Games.

You don't have to be an elite athlete to get an appointment with Sanford orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chris Robertson, but it doesn't hurt.  Dr. Robertson's other office is on the mountain. He is on the medical team for Team Canada's Ski Team. Dr. Robertson says, "To be part of that team that supports them and allows them to be the best they can be is an incredible honor."'

The Canadian native was on ski patrol for five years and jumped at the opportunity to work with his national ski team athletes.  Robertson says the athletes travel 30-40 weeks a year, so they don't always get to see their own physician. He says that is why it's nice to see a familiar face when you travel.  He was recently at the World Cup event in Austria and says he's a fan just as much as a team physician.  

Sanford Health's Dr. Robyn Knutson Bueling has always had a passion for figure skating. She grew up on skates, coached skaters and now works with the U.S. Figure Skating Team as a team physician. Dr. Bueling calls it her hobby job, adding, "it's the world's most fun thing." She loves getting to travel and watching skating. 

 Dr. Knutson Bueling's experience in the skating world helps her understand what these elite athletes are dealing with, but she says they are not always "elite" issues. She says she is often asked to treat motion sickness, the flu or colds. She says they are sort of regular people illnesses, but adds, "When you are in a foreign country and you're 16, it can be scary."

So is there competition between doctors? The USA-Canada rivalry is one of the biggest out there. Dr. Robertson says there can be a little ribbing in the office, but he says the doctors don't get very competitive at the actual events. They are typically staged together and they never want to see any athlete get hurt during competition.

Both Dr. Robertson and Dr. Knutson Bueling say they hope to someday go to the Olympic games with their respective teams, but this year, they will be watching the games on TV.
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