This year’s Winter Olympics feature the undertakings of the local-based U.S. Olympic Committee to a similar degree that it is manifested in Colorado Springs — with the help of an empowering partnership.
Much like its partnership with the USOC at the Olympic Training Center, worldwide Olympic partner GE Healthcare is the exclusive provider of medical products and services that are helping medical staff for treating injured athletes in Sochi, Russia during the Winter Games, which continue through Feb. 23.
The “polyclinic” or “mirror clinic” in Sochi’s Olympic Village is providing members of the U.S. delegation — 230 athletes across eight sports and 15 disciplines, plus a contingent of more than 270 support staff — with urgent care, using innovative technology to accurately diagnose and treat a variety of ailments.
“[That equipment] allows us to take the athlete to one place, get their diagnosis down with the best medical products available, and then share that information with the best doctors in the world regardless of their location,” said Dustin Nabhan, the USOC’s associate director of sports medicine. “Accessibility, I think, is the biggest thing this brings us, and then also portability: We have the same thing here, I understand the same software, it is going to be the same patient chart that I’m looking at here [in Colorado Springs] as it will be in Sochi.”
The designation polyclinic/mirror clinic means that the services in Sochi closely match those that exist at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. GE Health has supplied the same equipment and the USOC has flown half of its Colorado Springs staff to Sochi, as well as physicians from centers in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Chula Vista, Calif.
“It is literally like taking our clinic here and placing it in the Olympic Village in Sochi,” Nabhan said. “They have similar capabilities as far as sharing of athlete information and diagnostic modalities.”
The USOC launched the partnership with the Winter Games of 2006 and has since received MRI machines, CT scanners, ultrasound devices, digital X-rays and a whole host of other sports medicine equipment. The state-of-the-art machines now are located in the Olympic Training Center’s newly renovated sports medicine and recovery building, a 16,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the campus’ new 36,000-square-foot strength and conditioning building.
“We think that the new facility is a huge deal for the USOC,” Nabhan said. “We have never had an all-in-one diagnostic location before for athletes. Through the project with GE we have been able to include all of the top-of-the-line sports medicine equipment in the buildout. So it gives us one location to bring athletes training for the Olympics, evaluate them, treat them and get them back to training as fast as possible.”
The partnership predicates an effort to “help clinicians predict, diagnose, treat and monitor health issues and sports medicine injuries earlier when intervention is more effective and efficient — or in other words, to ensure a quick return to play,” GE Health representatives said in an email to the Business Journal. “Every day an Olympic or Paralympic athlete spends in rehab is a day of lost training, making earlier injury diagnosis and real-time recovery monitoring crucial for elite performance.
“For this reason, GE Healthcare equips sports physicians with advanced and innovative medical imaging technologies, allowing athletic trainers to have an earlier and more accurate diagnosis platform.”
In Sochi, the company provides digital imaging equipment including MRI, CT, X-ray and ultrasound, as well as other high-tech pieces of equipment focused on analyzing and treating sports-related injuries.
GE’s Olympic Village Polyclinic is powered by two of the company’s advanced aeroderivative gas turbines, which will feed its more than 1,300 power supplies across the village campus. Other pieces of equipment provided to the 2014 Sochi Olympic Village include:
24 MAC 600 ECG analysis machines;
21 Responder 2000 automated external defibrillators;
40 Responder AED automated external defibrillators;
10 Dash 2500 patient monitor devices;
3 iVent 201 ventilator systems;
3 Vivid S6 ultrasound machines;
3 Optima XR220amx mobile X-ray systems, along with an Optima CT660 Freedom Edition computed tomography system, an Optima MR360 Advance magnetic resonance system (1.5 Tesla) and a Mobile Signa HD magnetic resonance system (1.5 Tesla).
Back home in Colorado Springs, these products have been helping athletes get back on their feet and into the game while preparing for their chance at realizing Olympic dreams.
Adeline Gray, a resident-athlete and resident of the Olympic Training Center, is one such believer in the magic of sports medicine.
“I have been a resident … for five years and the sports medicine clinic is a place I visit on a regular basis,” said Gray, a women’s wrestling world champion and 2016 Olympic hopeful. “The first time going into the new clinic was exciting, seeing the new equipment and the wide-open area with a separate rehab area and Recovery Center.
“It makes our jobs as elite athletes much easier not having to go to an outside location for diagnosis and treatment,” she said.
“Injuries happen all the time and without sports medicine getting us diagnosed and rehabbed with speed, we would lose valuable time that could be spent training and competing.”