VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Several years ago, Dr. Kevin deWeber decided to dream big. And in the world of sports medicine, nothing is bigger than the Olympics.
So the Vancouver doctor set his sights on serving as an Olympics physician.
DeWeber recently learned his big dream is going to become a reality. He was offered a position on the medical staff for the Rio 2016 Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro.
“I said, ‘Heck, yeah,'” deWeber said.
DeWeber will fly to Rio on July 22 and return to his Woodland home on Aug. 23. The games are Aug. 5 to 21.
Recently, deWeber received the official invitation and details about his job. He’ll serve as the medical director of the High Performance Center near the Olympic Village. The clinic will have multiple providers — a couple physicians, chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist — who care for U.S. athletes, delegates and officials.
“We’re probably going to have long hours of keeping the clinic open if an athlete needs something done,” deWeber said.
The clinic will most often see athletes with minor injuries, sprains, strains, cuts, contusions and overuse injuries, deWeber said. The chiropractor, massage therapist and physical therapist will most likely handle those patients, he said.
As a family and sports medicine physician, deWeber will most likely see the athletes with more severe pain that requires injection therapy or ultrasounds to diagnose torn ligaments or blood clots, he said. He may also see athletes and other American representatives who get ill, he said.
DeWeber’s journey to the Olympics began several years ago.
The Olympics don’t have full-time physicians on staff at their training centers, so they rely heavily on volunteers at the centers and for Olympic events, deWeber said. The Olympics has a volunteer physician program that brings doctors to training centers for two-week stints. The program is a trial run, of sorts, for Olympics staff to see if the physician would be a good fit to work bigger events, deWeber said.
DeWeber signed up for the program and went to the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center in July 2012. Then, he waited.
“It’s usually a several-years wait before you get called up to do something,” deWeber said. And when physicians are called, it’s typically for smaller events, he said.
“Then, hopefully, you eventually get a call saying, ‘Hey, we want you to go to the Olympics,'” deWeber said.
In the past four years, deWeber didn’t hear much. Then, in mid-December, deWeber got the call. Despite not hearing anything for years, deWeber wasn’t surprised he was being invited to Rio.
“Oddly enough, I just had a hunch,” he said.
While deWeber doesn’t have experience working at the Olympics, he does have experience with similar events.
DeWeber served in the U.S. Army for 25 years, and during that time, he worked with many of the Army’s elite athletes. In 2007, he traveled with the Army athletes to India for the Military World Games, a multisport event modeled after the Olympics.
In 2011, he was the medical director for the military games in Rio de Janeiro. Working that event meant he’s familiar with the city and some of the venues that will be used for the Olympic Games.
The Olympic committee knew about his experience in Rio. While deWeber thought the previous trip may help his chances, he didn’t count on anything.
Now that the trip is official, deWeber is dreaming about the things he hopes to experience.
“I would love to walk in the opening ceremonies,” he said. “That would be the coolest thing ever.”
DeWeber also hopes to catch a couple of events, if he has time to get away from the medical clinic.
“I would go to judo,” deWeber said. “I love the martial arts.”
DeWeber works at mixed martial events in Clark County and across the state, but his next big dream is to work as a physician for an Ultimate Fighting Championship event.
DeWeber moved to Clark County in 2013 after retiring as an Army colonel. He and his wife grew up in Washington.
DeWeber works as a family and sports medicine physician at Family Medicine of Southwest Washington in Vancouver. He’s also Clark College’s team physician and spends one evening a week working with athletes there. In addition, he works football games for Hudson’s Bay High School and at wrestling events in the county.
After his five weeks in Rio, deWeber will return to those duties. He will also return one year older; deWeber will celebrate his 50th birthday in Brazil.
“How’s that for a birthday?” he said. “I think I’ll enjoy that birthday.”
Information from: The Columbian, http://www.columbian.com