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It’s not just athletes: Doctors at the Olympics have also worked years to get there

The 243 athletes on Team USA have worked hard to get to the Winter Olympics. So has their medical team.
Snowboarder Jacqueline Hernandez of the United States is stretchered off the course by medics after a fall during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Source: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

As Team USA preps for the Winter Olympics festivities to kick off this weekend, it’s not only the 243 athletes who are getting ready for action — it’s also a crew of medical volunteers who undergo a grueling selection process of their own.

The official U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Division recruits a crew of volunteer doctors — as well as orthopedists, chiropractors, nurses, sports therapists, massage therapists, and more — every two years. Those selected will work with Olympic teams during training and practices and ultimately at the games themselves — some caring for one team exclusively; others moving around as the need arises. And they do it all uncompensated.

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