College of Science, Technology, and Health

USM Faculty Provides Care to Olympic Athletes

Faculty member Ben Towne spent his February break in Lake Placid, NY, serving as an athletic trainer for the United States Bobsled and Skeleton teams.  Towne was invited to help provide medical coverage for olympic-level athletes competing in the 2012 World Championships of Bobsled and Skeleton, a two-week competition held in Lake Placid.  “Working with the best athletes in the US and the world is an honor and a privilege.  I feel blessed to be able to work with high caliber athletes while traveling the world.”

Ben TowneAs a volunteer certified athletic trainer (ATC) for the United States Bobsled and Skeleton teams, Towne travels extensively. He has volunteered for the past five years for the teams’ World Cup tour, travelling to places such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy. In addition to the World Cup Tour, Towne also provided medical coverage and served as the team’s athletic trainer for the 2008 and 2011 World Championships.  “The Bobsled and Skeleton team has sort of become my extended family,” says Towne.  While in Lake Placid, he stayed at the Olympic Training Center and provided services in the Sports Medicine Clinic and the track at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

“I really feel as though the work enhances my teaching, as I’m able to both teach about current concepts in the field and practice them as well.  It keeps me active and gives me a good sense of perspective when dealing with clinical issues our students face on their clinical rotations.”  Towne maintains a blog of his clinical and cultural experiences when he travels, which he shares with students within the athletic training education program.  “Working at this level allows me to utilize the most current technology and health care products provided to Olympic level athletes, which I can then bring back to the classroom and share with our students.  I want to let them know what is out there.”

The US team did incredibly well during the 2012 World Championships, sweeping events.  They won gold medals in both 2-Man and 4-Man Bobsled, Women’s Skeleton, and the Team Competition.  The US also took bronze in the 2-Man Women’s competition.  “It was great to see all of the athlete’s hard work pay off in medals. They put in so much time and deserve their rewards.” 

Towne hopes to continue working with America’s elite athletes.  “Who knows? Maybe I’ll make an Olympics one day as a member of the medical staff.”

Towne was awarded the 2011 Harward Service Learning Award for his service learning work in the Dominican Republic and given the 2011 Most Outstanding Faculty Involvement Award at USM.

You can read Towne’s blog The Essential Athletic Trainer at http://essentialatc.blogspot.com.

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