Grand Junction’s Dr. Price serving as physician for U.S. Adaptive Ski team

When the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team arrives this weekend in Sestriere, Italy, for the IPC World Cup, the team physician will be Dr. Richard Price of Grand Junction.

Price, who joined Rocky Mountain Orthopaedic Associates six months ago after moving here from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., will be the adaptive team’s sole physician during the weeklong competition sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee.

The team also will be accompanied by a physical therapist, but Price will be responsible for all aspects of medical care.

“The team physician meets with the race coordination (officials) and ski patrol to evaluate the medical care plan for the race in case of any accidents,” Price said in a recent e-mail. He will “help organize logistics to ensure a safe medical environment for the race. Then I sit on the ski hill and freeze to death as the race goes on.”

He’ll also have to be quick to make sure the U.S. athletes get the care they need.

“In foreign countries, sometimes you have to be aggressive to make sure that your athlete gets appropriate care,” Price said. “Sometimes you have to arrange medical evacuation to the U.S. for medical care. This happened on a trip to China.”

Price is familiar with the rigors of on-mountain emergency care. He spent time on the Colorado State University ski team and later Price served as a sports medicine volunteer during ski races while attending the University of Utah.

His role there evolved into becoming a U.S. Ski Team physician during select races.

He continued working ski and snowboard events after moving to Mammoth Lakes, where Price worked with many top professional snowboarders and volunteered to work with the U.S. Snowboard Team.

This is his first year working with the adaptive program and he said he’s not sure what to expect.

The 10-member A team includes visually impaired skiers along with amputees and paraplegics.

“There are several different groups of athletes on this trip, including blind skiers, the one-leg skiers, and the sit-skiers,” he said. “Each type of athlete will present a different medical situation.

“Hopefully, I won’t face too many challenges with this group.”

The races in Sestriere include downhill and Super G.


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