Hawkeye sports medicine team also treats Team USA

Clinic building

The doctors at University of Iowa Sports Medicine serve as team physicians for all Iowa Hawkeyes teams. That includes every sport, the dance team, Spirit Squads, and even the marching band.

But three UI Sports Medicine doctors take that experience to another level, serving as team physicians for Team USA—the athletes who represent the United States at international sports competitions, including the Olympics and world cup events.

Those three physicians—Mederic Hall, MD, Britt Marcussen, MD, and Andrew Peterson, MD—volunteer to travel to provide medical support to those elite American athletes who strive to be among the best in the world. That kind of commitment at the international level is part of what it takes to make UI Sports Medicine a world-class provider.

“We may be the only sports group in the country with three people doing this much with Team USA,” says Peterson, who has served as a team physician for USA Wrestling for seven years and spent three years with USA Water Polo. He was medical director for the Olympic wrestling trials in 2012 and 2016.

“The experience allows us to work with some of the best athletes in the world and gain hands-on experience with the most cutting-edge sports medicine and sports science applications,” says Hall, who has worked with the USA Nordic Combined skiers for five years and USA Triathlon for three years.

Requirements for inclusion vary depending on the team. Some teams only invite doctors with certain experience and skills. Responsibilities include traveling to international events and providing medical coverage for athletes and coaches at those events.

Marcussen, who has served with USA Ski & Snowboard for five years, says working with a ski team requires not just medical abilities but also a certain demonstrated level of physical fitness. Treating an injured athlete on a mountain is far from routine.

“My first event was in the middle of nowhere in Finland,” Marcussen says. “After I applied I went through on-mountain training, which is quite rigorous.”

The knowledge and experience they gain is something that has real value for the work they do when they get back home.

“Taking care of athletes at the world cup and Olympic level keeps us at the forefront of what is being done to maintain the health and prevent injury in these very elite athletes,” Marcussen says. “It’s most fulfilling when we can bring these new ideas and approaches back to the University of Iowa, to our colleagues, and to our patients.”