Dr. Sonya Ahmed. Photo courtesy UC San Diego
Dr. Sonya Ahmed. Photo courtesy UC San Diego

UC San Diego Health announced Monday that orthopedic surgeon Sonya Ahmed will be the chief medical officer for Team USA at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

The former elite gymnast and pole vaulter will watch over American athletes during the games Feb. 12-21.

“I’m so appreciative of this opportunity and honor — I hope to bring my personal experience as an athlete to it, as well as the best care they have ever seen,” said Ahmed, who is chief of the Foot and Ankle Division in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UC San Diego Health.

Ahmed is also a foot and ankle consultant to the San Diego Chargers.

More than 1,100 athletes 15 to 18 years old are scheduled to compete in 70 events. Off the ice and snow, workshops, team-building exercises and a learn and share program help the teens learn about Olympic values, explore other cultures and develop the skills to become ambassadors of their sports.

The U.S. Olympic Committee appoints physicians and surgeons to support the games based on clinical skills, sports medicine expertise and overall professionalism.

“Dr. Ahmed has gone above and beyond to provide exceptional athlete care, communicating with providers and athletic trainers from the U.S. Olympic Committee and the national governing bodies for various sports,” said Bill Moreau, the USOC’s managing director of sports medicine.

“She has a competitive athletic background, which allows her to understand the pressures and challenges of training and competing,” Moreau said. “Her passion for sports combined with her excellence as a physician- surgeon give her Team USA athletes and coaches a lot of confidence in the care she provides.”

UC San Diego Health is an official U.S. Olympic Regional Medical Center, part of a national network of leading medical providers selected by the USOC to provide medical services to Team USA athletes — including orthopedics and sports medicine, primary care, cardiovascular care, neurosurgery, cancer care and physical therapy.

–City News Service