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Personalities: Downhill Medicine

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For most of the year, Richard Price, MD, practices at Rocky Mountain Orthopaedic Associates in Grand Junction, CO—until someone from the International Olympic Committee gives him a call. Price is a physician on the Olympic roster and is called on to care for athletes about once a year. In January, he embarked on his first international trip to Italy with the Adaptive U.S. Ski Team as it competed in the World Cup. Price took time off work and paid his own way to be there, but he says it was well worth it.

On the benefits of traveling with the team: It's certainly fun to do. Working with the athletes changes up your practice: Instead of sitting in the office all day, you're on the ski slope doing something different. The athletes are fun and they're a very motivated group of people to succeed, so it's good to be around people like that. And there's also the marketing side of it because I'm officially a member of the U.S. Ski Team physicians pool.

On working with disabled athletes: There were certainly less egos and attitudes and they were more laid back. There's not as much in the way of prize money and fame and fortune for these guys as there is for the able-bodied athletes, so it was much more of a low-key event. The athletes were very self-sufficient—especially the paralyzed group of athletes. The paraplegics were really taught with their injuries to have pride in taking care of themselves.

On the group that most inspired him: The blind athletes were the most impressive group that I worked with. They were very inspiring with their determination and drive, and they couldn't see much at all and their times weren't even much slower than the able-bodied athletes. Their ability to ski as fast as they do is kind of scary.

Marianne Aiello

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