Two doctors from U of T’s David L. Macintosh Sport Medicine Clinic are heading to Vancouver for the Olympics, but not for fun and games. Drs. Ian Cohen and Julia Alleyne, sports medicine specialists who have longtime experience helping university athletes get back in condition, will be in charge of important medical facilities at the games.
Cohen will act as Medical Supervisor for the Whistler Sliding Centre, the venue for the bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge events. He will be responsible for the medical care of all the teams on the track. Cohen attended last year's pre-Olympic World Cup event, which he said provided him with invaluable lessons.
"I have had the opportunity to participate in many high profile events, but I've always wanted to go to the Olympics," said Cohen. "I will be able to watch the best athletes in the world."
Alleyne has been a physician for Canada’s figure skating team for over 15 years, working closely with athletes all year round. She believes that her work at the Olympics will be the pinnacle of her career. “I am pleased to be supporting them during this very important competition that they have dreamed of,” she explained. “I feel that my skills as a physician and a team player are put to the Olympic test with a high profile event such as Vancouver 2010.”
Vancouver will offer a unique experience to both doctors, and a chance to collaborate with medical experts from around the world. Providing medical care at a large-scale event like the Olympics is a logistical challenge, but Cohen and Alleyne hope to bring what they learn back to U of T.
"U of T students and faculty will gain from the inspiration of a global cooperative and will take these lessons to heart as we prepare to host the world for the Pan Am Games in 2015,” said Alleyne.
The Olympics will also be an opportunity for both doctors to work in sports not represented at the university. “We don’t have a bobsleigh team at U of T, but one day, you never know,” Cohen joked.