Medical Coverage for the 2013 U.S. Open

Spectators watch as Tiger Woods practices for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

As the health care provider for the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Main Line Health’s 150 volunteers including physicians, physician assistants and nurses have been preparing for over six months to ensure that the competition is a healthy and safe event for all involved. Each day of the competition, from the crack of dawn until the last spectator exits the course, our clinical staff will be stationed at five medical facilities throughout the golf course to care for any players, event spectators or other workers or volunteers who may need medical treatment.

Like many similar sporting events held outside and in temperamental weather conditions, most of the medical needs our volunteers will be addressing will likely be easily treatable conditions such as dehydration or dizziness, a common symptom of too much sun exposure. Also, with the rainy conditions that we’ve been having for the past couple of days, we will see a lot of slips and falls in muddy, wet areas—resulting in sprains and fractures.

For medical emergencies, we’ve brought the emergency department to the course. At five locations across the course, we have stationed emergency facilities, equipped with medical devices and tools that can be used in the treatment of a range of medical problems, from cuts and scrapes to more severe issues.

Some of the most common player-related injuries can include overuse injuries such as back pain, tennis elbow, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. There are also some unusual injuries associated with golfing—like bone-jarring sensations from striking the ground during a misplaced swing.

Even though the rain we’ve been having throughout the Delaware Valley has been interfering a bit with the player’s practice days, it’s extremely important for the golfers to warm up before they compete—doing this can significantly reduce the incidence of injuries.

If you are planning on attending the event, remember to stay well hydrated, wear plenty of sunscreen, and pay careful attention to course signage, which is designed to ensure spectator safety. 

Dr. Good is the Director of the Medical Committee for the U.S. Open. He is also Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at Main Line Health and a surgeon with the Rothman Institute.

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