Grand Junction physician attends to U.S. Adaptive Ski Team

Grand Junction physician Richard Price of Rocky Mountain Orthopaedic Associates sits with Alana Nichols of the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team during a break at the recent World Cup in Sestriere, Italy. Price served as the U.S. team’s attending physician during the races.



U.S. Adaptive Ski Team member Alana Nichols slides into the finish in the 2010 World Cup downhill race at Sestriere, Italy. Nichols, of Farmington, Minn., won her first World Cup downhill.



Skiing doctor Richard Price of Rocky Mountain Orthopaedic Associates in Grand Junction recently returned from a week in Italy, but it wasn’t a vacation for sightseeing.

Price, a primary care sports medicine physician for the orthopaedic practice, was one of the attending physicians for the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team for the recent World Cup downhill and Super G competition in Sestriere, Italy.

During the Jan. 17–23 competition, Price and physicians representing the competing countries were available to treat the athletes if they were injured.

The talent of the athletes at the world-class level was evident as injuries were few.

According to Price, there were only two instances where he had to send participants to the hospital for X-rays.

“The skills of these athletes are top notch,” Price said. “The U.S. team consisted of approximately 25 athletes, ranging from a blind skier, to those with a missing limb to all levels of paralysis.”

The United States posted strong results in Sestriere with six athletes placing in the top five in the Super G, including first-place winner Laurie Stephens of Wenham, Mass., in the sit-ski competition.

Chris Devlin-Young of Campton, N.H., placed second in the sit-ski division.

The team also did well in the downhill with sit-skier Alana Nichols of Farmington, Minn., clinching her first World Cup win.

Price said Rocky Mountain Orthopaedic Associates is a strong supporter of adaptive sports programs and was a sponsor for Colorado Discover Ability’s 14th annual Ski Challenge on Feb. 6 at Powderhorn Resort.

“If someone has a disability and would like to learn to ski, programs like Colorado Discover Ability are perfect resources,” Price said. “Many doctors don’t know a lot about adaptive skiing because each person is different in relation to their injury or condition, but these programs are a fantastic place to start.”

Price began as a sports-medicine volunteer during ski races while attending the University of Utah. Working the ski scene for some time evolved into becoming the U.S. Ski Team physician during select races.

After moving to Mammoth, Calif., Price worked with many of the top professional snowboarders training in the area and volunteered to work with the U.S. Snowboard Team.

This was Price’s first year working with the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team, which is sponsored by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing, http://www.ipc-alpineskiing.org.


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