Story by: Norton Healthcare on August 28, 2018
If Ironman athletes were really made of iron, sports medicine specialists wouldn’t be needed.
The athletes who will swim 2.4 miles in the Ohio River, bike 112 miles through the rolling hills of Oldham and Henry counties, and run 26.2 miles through the streets of downtown in Ironman Louisville on Oct. 14 need top-notch medical care to keep them healthy through training and on race day.
The Norton Sports Health medical team that supports Ironman Louisville athletes are active themselves and share the athletes’ passion for the grueling endurance sport.
“I have always enjoyed working with endurance athletes of all types mainly due to my own personal love of these sports. I have been competing in marathons and Ironman races for the past eight years,” said Ryan Modlinski, M.D., medical co-director for Ironman Louisville.
As a sports medicine specialist, the unique nature of preparing and participating in endurance sports presents new opportunities for using his and the entire Norton Sports Health team’s unique expertise.
“We constantly learn more about how environmental factors affect the participants, how to provide better nutrition for performance, how to regulate fluid intake, how to enhance recovery for participants and proper stress load management during training,” he said.
Robin Curry, M.D., another medical co-director for Ironman Louisville, is an avid runner and enjoys feeling that she’s part of the athletes’ team.
Sports medicine encompasses orthopedics, pediatrics, neurology and other specialties.
Meet the multidisciplinary team
One of her patients was dealing with an injury that he feared would keep him from competing in a recent Ironman event.
After the race, he sought her out “just to tell me that he finished and how grateful he was. He gave me a big hug, and I will always cherish that memory.”
Dr. Curry, a team physician for Bellarmine University in Louisville and Jefferson County Public Schools, said the Norton Sports Health team provides athletic trainers, nurses, primary care physicians, sports medicine physicians and orthopedic specialists on race day.
“We can handle most anything that comes our way. We are able to provide a high level of coordinated care on race day, which is crucial to how the race functions,” she said.
Taking part in a community activity has been part of the joy of Ironman day for Jeff Stephenson, M.D., also a medical co-director. He has served on the medical team for Ironman Louisville since 2012.
“Since I have been a part of Norton Sports Health, there has always been a focus on community involvement and supporting athletes of all types,” he said. “Our participation with Ironman has been a huge part of that involvement in the community and helps us support and give back.”
Along with these physicians, Norton Healthcare provides medical volunteers for Ironman Louisville.
“Every year we keep seeing the same volunteer faces committing long hours to helping these athletes, and I think that helps ensure excellent care,” Dr. Stephenson said.
When you see these Norton Sports Health physicians along the Ironman course or in the medical tent, they have your back. Not only do they look forward to helping you along the way, they will be cheering you on as you hear “You are an Ironman” at the finish line.
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