What it Takes to Be a Champion
A World-Class Surgeon For A World-Class Team
Olympic athletes are often seen as idols by the general public for their inspiring talent, drive, work ethic, dedication, and ability to push through the most difficult circumstances.
Like Olympic athletes, orthopedic surgeons have similar heroic characteristics. Orthopedic surgeons must constantly advance their medical knowledge through continuing education, caring for patients, and years of surgical practice on both routine and difficult cases. With so many time-intensive activities, it’s surprising to our patients that Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists surgeons also make it a priority to volunteer with groups around the world caring for a variety of patients.
Some of our providers go into war-torn areas or rush in to treat patients after natural disasters. Some provide care to individuals representing the United States as Olympic athletes. One sport known for many injuries is skiing. With the philosophy, “it takes a team to succeed,” a pool of medical specialists tends to these elite athletes representing the U.S. “We’re built around one common goal—to provide the right resources for athletes who are inspired to be the Best in the World.”1
Northwest Orthopaedic’s own Dr. Christopher G. Anderson, who the U.S. Ski Team looks to for his talents and skills in sports medicine and arthroscopy, specializes in ACL repair; rotator cuff and arthritis surgery; joint replacement (hip, knee, and shoulder); and fracture care. When he isn’t attending to his patients, Dr. Anderson spends time on the mountain where he enjoys all types of skiing including backcountry, alpine, and skate skiing. His personal experience with the sport makes him an excellent fit with the U.S. Ski Team.
Where it All Began
In 2015, Dr. Anderson began working with the U.S. Ski Team alongside faculty from his fellowship program in Taos, New Mexico. Supported by his Spokane community, family and the NWOS team, Dr. Anderson joined two U.S. Ski Team trips, as well as complete interval training held in Beavercreek, Colorado. Dr. Anderson’s travels with the team took him to Portillo, Chile, and Austria.
Dr. Anderson acts as both doctor and patient advocate to ensure the athletes receive the best care away from home. If available medical treatment does not meet the high standards of medical care in the U.S., Dr. Anderson will either transfer or evacuate the patient to the U.S.
On any given day, it would be easy for Dr. Anderson to forgo the effort the trip takes. It requires time away from his patients and family, but it is important to Dr. Anderson to serve others and share his knowledge. Dr. Anderson has shared these experiences with his wife by his side. His parents make it possible by spending time with their children while the couple is away.
Early in 2019, Dr. Anderson spent nine days with the U.S. Ski Team in Austria. This premier ski venue brought new challenges that a typical doctor would normally never encounter. Being there in person was much different than watching the event on television. Thankfully, Dr. Anderson’s personal experience prepared him to take on the challenges of an outdoor setting in freezing temperatures, a 40-degree angled hill, unstable surfaces, and a fast-paced atmosphere. Dr. Anderson also faced the challenges of being in a different country where the potential of a catastrophic accident was ever-present. The availability, inconsistency, and sophistication of local medical services vary between countries. Dr. Anderson attends to the athletes on-site at the venue, but must also communicate with local medics if athletes require medical attention beyond what can be provided on the hill. Language barriers can make it difficult to get athletes transported to local hospitals.
While he may root for the U.S., he lends a hand to other teams in need—without regard for nationality. In his first experience, there were 15 athletes he treated—six from the U.S. women’s team, along with nine others from the Canadian and Norwegian teams.
As a volunteer, Dr. Anderson ensures he is always ready for an emergency during the race and on his downtime. Athletes put their bodies through intense ordeals. Olympic athletes go the extra mile and train harder to achieve their success. Dr. Anderson has treated a wide range of injuries from contusions (bumps and bruises) to knee and head injuries. Sometimes he can treat the athlete on location, but other times the injury is more severe and requires the athlete go to the hospital.
Dr. Anderson is multi-talented and cares for many people both at home and abroad. We are lucky to have him in the Spokane community, not just for his ability to heal our injuries and chronic pain, but because he is a person that many look to as an idol.
He gets a great sense of pride from helping others and working with the U.S. Ski Team. The team appreciates and values the treatment he provides and appreciates his time away from the office. Dr. Anderson plans to continue his affiliation as a U.S. Ski Team Pool Physician, covering major races and events worldwide and hopes to one day make it to the Olympics.
Dr. Anderson sees patients at the Spokane Valley Clinic.
To make an appointment with Dr. Anderson, call 509-928-4334.
1 Information from https://usskiandsnowboard.org/athletes