Medical Team Report from the Tour of Utah

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The Team at the prologue. Photo: Dave Iltis

By Dr. Michael Cerami –

As part of the medical team for the Tour of Utah, I was hoping for a good race that kept the riders injury free. Treatment for the athlete in these races generally falls into two categories: emergent care for accidents that happen on the race course and injury treatment performed at the host hotel medical suite. Different physicians are available for each category.

Dr. Ken Yonemura, the medical director, stated that it was a testament to the quality of the riders in a UCI 2.1 race that we only had a few crashes. The first on Stage 1 at the end to the second lap, where he had to get Chase Pinkham (Bissell prior Ski Utah rider) back on his bike after some road rash (he promptly finished 3rd in the field sprint to take 8th for the day). Stage 2 had two successive crashes in the last 5k to the finish but all of the riders were able to finish and only 4 needed bandaging. There was also the most dramatic crash (albeit not involving riders) with Medical Moto 1 on the Alpine Loop. Both riders walked away from the crash despite totaling a BMW motorcycle.

The medical team also supplied on-bike support for the Ultimate Challenge and the only medical incident occurred 18 miles from the start with more road rash. Ken and his wife Grace rode down the Alpine Loop on the tandem and hit 61 MPH on the Suncrest descent. They also supported the VIP fun ride in Park City with Eric Heiden & Bob Roll on Friday morning August 12th prior to the time trial.

The level and budget of the teams dictated what kind of support would be needed as some larger international teams such as Radio Shack and Garmin Cervelo have budgets to transport support staff whereas smaller teams need all the help they can get.

In my experience, it doesn’t matter what size team it is, all riders put themselves on the line 100% every day to either: a) keep the status they worked so hard to attain or b) to scratch and claw their way up the food chain to get in a break and possibly win a stage or finish high in the overall GC and get recognized.

Bicycle racers push hard day in and day out and are constantly on the edge of what the body can tolerate. When these limitations are exceeded there are eventual breakdowns that need to be fixed quickly. It’s also important for the treating physician to find distortions or problems that are non-symptomatic or sub-threshold in order to prevent future injury as well as enhance performance.

I saw athletes from 5 teams and provided a variety of services including chiropractic adjustments, Cold Laser therapy, extremity manipulation, Rock-taping and Frequency Specific Microcurrent. The riders were very thankful for all the help they received and it was exciting for me to watch their progress the following day secretly hoping they would ride strong and finish well.

Dr. Cerami works on a Spider Tech rider at the time trial. Photo: Kandy Ranae

As expected, as the race advanced there were more and more athletes seeking help. I worked Wednesday through Saturday night at the medical suite treating a variety of problems including hip pain, knee and foot pain as well as neck shoulder and back problems. I also saw a variety of officials from the UCI, Cycling USA, members of the race promotion management staff as well as motorcycle riders. An added treat was being able to have the evening meal with the teams at the end of the day.

I had the most fun on Friday at the Miller Motor Sports Park for the Time Trial. I got there after office hours and was able to pre and post treat a number of riders in the medical bay as they had plenty of time and easy access to me.

The medical team comprised physicians from many backgrounds and included: The medical director; Dr. Ken Yonemura, Dr. Jonathan Guenter, Dr. Brad Rockwell, Dr. Ellen Guthrie, Dr. Casey Jowers, Grace Noda MPAS, Trevor Leavitt EMT, Fernando Rivero EMT, Corey Ames NP, Jason Ball EMT.

Just like the race itself, what goes on behind the scenes takes constant attention to every possible detail. A race like this couldn’t happen without all of the passion and support of the volunteers, staff, and sponsors. I feel fortunate to be a part of this event every year and get excited to see our community pull together to host such a wonderful event.

Dr. Michael Cerami is an avid cyclist and sports chiropractor. He operates Utah Sports and Well- ness located at 1550 East 3300 South in Salt Lake City. More in- formation can be found at www. UtahSportsandWellness.com

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