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While there may not be any Quakers competing for gold in Vancouver, Penn still has a presence at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Gary Dorshimer, a 1981 Penn School of Medicine alumnus and current Penn Med professor is serving as the internal medicine consultant representing the National Hockey League.

The only member of the Penn community actively participating in Vancouver, Dorshimer is responsible for attending to any NHL-affiliated athletes competing at the Games.

Alongside two partners from the NHL Team Physicians Society, he is currently working around the clock, attending three hockey games daily which start at noon and end at midnight.

“We watch some great hockey with some intense rivalries,” Dorshimer said. “And hopefully we won’t have work to do after the game.”

But with the physical nature of the sport, Dorshimer’s wishes are not often fulfilled.

Although athletes’ primary care is through their countries’ team physicians, if a player or team doctor wants a second opinion — especially regarding injuries that could affect the player’s return to professional hockey — Dorshimer and his fellow doctors are there to provide advice.

Despite the intense international rivalries throughout the Games, Dorshimer treats athletes from around the globe.

And since the Olympics fall midway through the American hockey season, Dorshimer has a heavy burden on his shoulders. Any decisions he and his fellow doctors make can greatly impact the remainder of the season.

An injury to a high-profile athlete can have ramifications beyond a franchise losing games, and can also affect the League’s profits.

Luckily for the NHL, this is not the first time that Dorshimer has assumed this post.

This year marks the doctor’s third Winter Olympics. He previously attended both the 1998 Games in Nagano and the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

After serving the NHL Team Physicians Society as its secretary and treasurer since 1987, Dorshimer was nominated to represent the group for his significant service to both the Society and the League.

Although the NHL did not send any doctors to the 2006 Games in Torino, Dorshimer believes there were several instances where their presence could have been helpful.

When the doctor is not at the Olympics, the professor and director of the Internal Medicine and Sports Fellowship at Pennsylvania Hospital still works with professional athletes.

Dorshimer has been working with the Philadelphia Flyers since 1984 as a chief medical resident.

He is also in his 11th year as the team internist for the Philadelphia Eagles.

After an eight year hiatus from the Olympics, Dorshimer is extremely thankful to be back.

“Doing this is a dream come true,” he said. “And now fortunately a three-times-in-a-lifetime experience.”

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