UI sports medicine takes on Hawkeyes, Olympic-level athletes

Alexandra Skores, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Sports Medicine team has taken care of the Hawkeyes and all of their injuries for quite some time now. In addition, three UI physicians have branched out to take care of Olympic-level athletes.

Three physicians — Mederic Hall, Britt Marcussen, and Andrew Peterson — have volunteered at the Olympics, and they will be back in 2020.

Peterson has been involved in USA Wrestling for seven years, and Hall and Marcussen have been involved in the USA ski and triathlon athletes’ care. Marcussen has been involved for a little more than five years.

“There are a lot of doctors who do sports medicine and travel with national and international teams,” Marcussen said.

All of the athletes they have worked with are Olympic-level or former Olympians, he said, which makes for a unique experience.

“It is pretty common to be working gold medalists from various teams,” Marcussen said.

He didn’t notice a large difference in the care of the Olympians to that of the Hawkeye athletes, he said.

“I would say that it’s the logistics of providing care for these athletes who travel all over the world that makes it a bit more challenging,” Marcussen said. “From the medical supplies to having to travel to these pretty remote places.”

One of the places Marcussen visited with the USA Nordic Team was Finland, which, in the skiing areas, has small towns with not many medical services in the immediate locale.

“You have to be really prepared for pretty much anything that can happen on the ski hill,” he said.

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Marcussen said the sports-medicine team has also gone every three to four years for a training session located on a Colorado mountain to practice.

In an email to The Daily Iowan, Peterson said his involvement with Hawkeye wrestling made him want to work with USA Wrestling.

“I did do the required experience at the Olympic Training Center around 2012,” he said. “I’ve traveled to Russia four times and Cuba once with wrestling — in addition to a lot of work/coverage domestically.”

Peterson said he has met nearly all of the best American wrestlers through the competitions.

“I’ve met nearly all of the top American wrestlers at some point,” Peterson said. “Although I have to say that the most ‘noteworthy’ folks in this world are right in our backyard.  Doesn’t get a lot better than working with [brothers] Tom and Terry Brands.  I did get to talk to Aleksandr Karelin in Krasnoyarsk [Russia] once. That was exciting.  I had a poster of him on my wall when I was in high school.”

Peterson said the experience he has had with the USA teams has been extremely rewarding.

“I plan to continue doing this for as long as I am able,” he said. “The travel is rough, and some of it is physical work, so at some point I won’t be young/healthy/energetic enough to do it well and will have to step back. But I find it very rewarding and plan to continue working with USA Wrestling for a long time.”

Hall was unavailable for an interview at this time.

Director of UI Sports Medicine Brian Wolf said the department considers working with the Olympic athletes to be a great opportunity.

“We support these guys doing it, because it recognizes the good work that they have done,” Wolf said. “It is not everybody that gets selected to do these things — it is a note of how they have excellent skills and a good opportunity for them to be involved of athletes of the highest level.”