Football buff joins Olympic medical team
By Jung Min-ho
Orthopedic surgeon Suh Dong-won at Barunsesang hospital in Bundang was recently selected by the Korean Olympic Committee to provide his medical expertise for Team Korea at the London Games.
“It is such an honor to be a part of one of the biggest sports festivals in the world,” Suh, 49, said in an interview with The Korea Times. “I feel a heavy responsibility to ensure that athletes can make the most of their abilities at the games without worrying about injury. It feels like I have joined a national team of physicians to compete with the other ones at the event. Again, it’s a great honor.”
Having medical degrees both in orthopedics and rehabilitative medicine, Suh has an excellent reputation as a sports medicine specialist. Starting off his career as the only specialist with the two degrees, his reputation soon spread and famous athletes started knocking on the door of his hospital. Nonetheless, this isn’t the sole reason he has become an Olympic doctor.
Suh calls himself a sports fanatic. Despite a hectic schedule at the hospital, he plays football twice a week with the staff on a grass field that he lay on the building’s rooftop. Furthermore, years ago, his passion for sports led him to the National Training Center where he has been doing volunteer work for the athletes ever since.
“The simple motivation of wanting to help them initiated everything,” Suh said. “However, by helping the elite athletes, I have gained tremendous knowledge about my field and hands-on experience, which actually made my job easier at the hospital.”
Suh’s 24/7 responsibility will be to help the nation’s competitors do the best they can. For those who may be nervous in facing probably the most important moment of their careers, Suh shared some tips.
“Injuries to joints and muscles are the most common among athletes. At a competition like the Olympics where the top athletes from around the world are vying for the same goal, the chance of injuries becomes high,” he said. “Because injuries are more likely to happen when the athletes’ joints and muscles are stiff, it is important to relax and be confident.”
When asked about how Team Korea will perform in London, Suh said, “Our athletes are surely top class.
“Just do as you practiced.”
Suh and two other doctors, Samsung Medical Center’s Park Won-ha and the National Training Center’s Goh Jeong-ah, left for London with Team Korea on Friday.