BY KARA TANNER | OCT. 23, 2019, 6:30 P.M. (ET)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It’s no secret that behind every athlete is a support system of people who helped them achieve their shining moment on the world’s stage.
For most elite athletes, this includes a highly skilled group of medical professionals.
Helping these athletes achieve their goals is longtime team physician Dr. David Weinstein and his team of providers at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.
Dr. Weinstein, a Colorado native, graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where he remained to complete his orthopedic surgery residency. He specializes in sports medicine, knee surgery, and shoulder and elbow disorders. He completed fellowship training at Columbia-New York Orthopaedic Hospital in New York City in shoulder and elbow reconstruction and an additional fellowship overseas in orthopedic trauma. He is associate clinical professor at the University of Colorado Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in Denver.
“When the opportunity came up to move to Colorado Springs it was something I was looking forward to,” Dr. Weinstein said. “The Olympic & Paralympic Training Center is one of the gemstones of Colorado Springs. The ability to work at the Training Center for me is a big part of my practice. We’ve seen a lot of changes and provided quite a bit of impact on the athletes we take care of.”
Dr. Weinstein has been an orthopedic consultant at the OPTC in Colorado Springs for 25 years, also working with the wrestling and women’s basketball teams for that duration. He has also served as National Medical Network provider since its inception in 2013.
The National Medical Network offers elite athletes access to top-tier medical providers who have a strong history of success in multidisciplinary care, sporting event coverage, prevention and performance services, as well as participation in research and education.
“For these athletes, this is their livelihood and they often have really short careers,” said Dr. Weinstein. “When you look at what really impacts their ability to compete their health is probably the number one thing that is most important. They have to shine every four years. We’ve been able to put together the National Medical Network, which provides comprehensive care to athletes throughout the country.”
From Colorado to New York, there are seven National Medical Network partners in select areas across the country.
“There are a lot of resources for these athletes. At all these sites combined we’ve provided care to over 30,000 athletes. It’s just a privilege to take care of them and give them the best opportunity to perform.”
In 2017, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee partnered one step further with two National Medical Network providers – Steadman Philippon Research Institute and University of Utah Health – and formed the U.S. Coalition for the Prevention of Illness and Injury in Sport. The Coalition provides a vehicle for targeted research to protect and preserve athlete health.
Dr. Weinstein regularly spends time at the OPTC providing world-class multi-disciplinarian care to athletes.
“We have 21 providers here at the OPTC from chiropractors, trainers, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons and primary care doctors,” said Dr. Weinstein. “We have access to world-class strength and conditioning, sports psychology and nutrition. It’s really comprehensive care that these athletes are getting all right here in Colorado Springs.”
And for an added benefit, all of these services are completely free to the athletes.
“As head team physician, I have the opportunity to oversee all our providers and that gives me the opportunity to work with all different specialties,” Dr. Weinstein said. “The services we can provide here include state-of-the-art biologic treatments, ultrasounds, MRI scans and all types of diagnostic testing. When I’m here, I have all the resources I need to provide the best care.”
More recently, Dr. Weinstein served as team physician for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and is now looking forward to next year’s Games in Tokyo.
Dr. Weinstein says building relationships and seeing athletes succeed is one of the most rewarding parts of his job.
“One thing that’s great about Colorado Springs is a lot of the athletes end up living here and staying around,” said Weinstein. “I still get to run into them either as patients or on the running trails or on the Incline, so I get to see a lot of the athletes I’ve taken care of over the past 20 years.”