Garl Reappointed To USOC's Sports Medicine Advisory Committee
Aug. 6, 2008
Bloomington, Indiana - Longtime Indiana University men's basketball trainer Tim Garl has been reappointed to serve on the U.S. Olympic Committee's Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. Garl, who has been involved with the U.S. Olympic effort since 1979, has been invited to participate on a panel which consists of physicians, chiropractors and athletic trainers, from within the organization as well as the national medical community.
The USOC recently reorganized various departments including Sports Medicine, Sports Science, and Coaching and the Library to form the Performance Services Division. The Division is committed to partnering with the sport national governing bodies to insure high quality medical services for elite athletes and national teams.
Garl, is the longest serving member of the group having been initially appointed in 1988. He is a regular speaker at both national and international sports medicine programs, including numerous presentations in Asia, South America, Europe, including the European Basketball Championships in Spain. He has recently served at the World University Games in Beijing, Turkey, and Bangkok assisted with the FIBA World Basketball Championships in Indianapolis. He has also worked at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Winnipeg, Canada, and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He has also published several articles about sports medicine issues and basketball injuries. He, along with team physician Larry Rink, M.D., and Bloomington physician Tom Hrisomalos, M.D., authored the U.S. Olympic Committee's position paper on Blood Born Pathogens and Sports Participation. This was the first widely accepted position paper dealing with the subject.
During the summer of 1996, Garl was appointed chairman of the USOC's Olympic Sports Medicine Society, the alumni group of the USOC Medical Division, becoming the first non-physician to lead that organization. He also serves as a consultant to the U.S. Antidoping Agency. Garl was also recently selected to the board of directors for the College Athletic Trainers Society.
With the Olympics starting this week, Garl took time to talk to IUHoosiers.com about his experience with the USOC.
On the appointment:
"The Olympic Committee and the division or sports medicine has been reorganized and encompasses a lot more areas now. It has become the division of performance services, and sports medicine is one of the main areas within the new division. Although it is a reappointment it is a different structure and will have some of the same but also some new responsibilities."
On how he got involved with the USOC:
"The training center in Colorado Springs was created in the late 1970's, and in 1979 I was involved in going out and volunteering during the summer at the Colorado Springs training center and staying there on their campus and supporting the athletes that were training, that were not only living there but that were coming through. That was my initial evaluation period. From there I was selected to be on the staff for the 1980 sports festival in Syracuse, N.Y., and that is where I really began working with U.S.A. Basketball, where at the time it was known as ABA USA. That is also one of the points where I met Coach Knight and his son and was very instrumental in me being hired at Indiana later that year.
"After Colorado Springs and then the Syracuse Sports Festival, I was matched up with USA Basketball, and in the summer of 1982, I went to the FIBA World Championships in Columbia. From then on, I really was working with USA Basketball and the Olympic sports medicine division every summer in the 1980's. Shortly after the 1984 Olympics, they formed a sports medicine advisory committee, which I was appointed to on the initial committee, and I've been appointed and reappointed since that time. Some of the things that I do as part of my responsibilities with that committee, are their medical credential reviews, site reviews and visiting the different international competition sites and investigate the medical staff at that point and help the sports medicine division select individuals to go to the summer and winter Olympic games. So, it is an ongoing process because every two years we have an Olympics, and they have to be staffed by individuals, and a lot of that staffing, I'm involved with either through the credential review or the peer review at the different competition sites."
On what he has gained from his experiences with the U.S. Olympic teams:
"It has been wonderful to travel, especially representing your country in different athletic events. I have had the opportunity to go around the world. I've been all through South America, Europe, Asia - I've been to China a couple times. So, that has opened a lot of doors. Professionally, I've met a tremendous number of people within basketball, within sports medicine and all different disciplines, and from numerous different locations, not just in the United States but also internationally. It has been a tremendous opportunity for me professionally, and I really feel very strongly about the program offering the U.S. athletes the best care possible because I know they are giving everything they have to represent our country, and they need to be supported with the finest individuals they can find and supply. So, I feel very strongly about that."
On the challenges that are ahead in sports medicine:
"I think to a certain extent, you are now seeing so much specialty and sub-specialty in the medical providers that are taking care of the individual athletes. Internationally in the competitions the number of medical support personnel that we can take is dictated by the Olympic committee or the host organization, if it is the Pan American Games or the World University Games. So we don't just have a carte blanche, and we can't supply a medical provider for each individual or team. So, that does get to be a challenge because a lot of the athletes have competed for a long period of time, and when they go to a competition, they may want their individual provider to accompany them, and that is not always realistic or possible. There is always the challenge that if we are providing medical care and personnel that we provide the best people and the individuals who can provide the similar manner of care that the athlete has experienced on their own.
"The doping challenge is always one that we have to make sure that we are following all the rules because a significant number of the infractions are accidental or unintentional, so we always have to maintain the best knowledge and distribute it and educate everyone, the athlete, the coaches, the support staff and the medical personnel. The different in international locations that the athletes compete in are always a challenge because we feel like the best healthcare from a technology standpoint is available in the United States, and a lot of the places that host, technologically are not going to be able to offer the same support, so we're going to have to have providers that can supply care in any number of settings, some of them less than ideal."
On advice for someone just getting started in sports medicine:
"I would really encourage them (to volunteer during their offseason) because it broadens their horizons so much. You see so many non-traditional sports, sports that aren't in a collegiate setting, so that is real eye-opening, and the fact that you are around not only different medical personnel and support people from the United States, but you are also going to be around other international providers and see different philosophies and different ways of care. It is a real educational opportunity. The time demands can be significant, so I encourage them if they are going to volunteer that they have time to do it properly and have their other obligations met to be able to cover both their responsibilities at home and for whoever they are volunteering for can be a real test of time management."
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