LewisGale doctor shares experience working with Team USA Olympians before Beijing

Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Stephen O’Neil previously worked with USA’s ski and snowboard team before they headed to the 2022 winter Olympics

BLACKSBURG, Va. – As an athlete, making it to the Olympics is considered the highest level of competition. For those on the sideline like Dr. Stephen O’Neil, taking care of those athletes is also a big deal in his career.

“It was always an interest to one, work with athletes. Two, I feel like I’m an outdoor kind of person, backpacking, hiking, skiing , things like that. So it was always an interest to me. And then working with that level of athlete is always fun and nice to be able to help them if they get into a situation,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil completed his residency in New Mexico where the USA’s ski and snowboard team practiced before heading to Beijing.

“It’s always good to see anyone that you’ve had any type of care that you’ve provided for them. Just to see them be there and be in the highest level of competition and it’s fun just to be a part of that, a small part of it,” said O’Neil.

Although he can’t say what professional athletes he’s worked with specifically, you would probably recognize some of his former patients.

“When we watch them it’s not, ‘Oh was that the best time?’ It’s, ‘Ok they did a good job there. That was a nice turn’ And they ended the race safely and that’s what we want,” he said.

O’Neil is now working as an orthopedic surgeon at LewisGale in Blacksburg. He isn’t caring for any Olympians at the moment, but he still treats every patient with the same focus and care.

“The biggest thing I brought from working with elite-level athletes is I need to treat all my patients as if they are elite-level athletes. Those athletes care so much about getting back to where they want to be,” said O’Neil. “Back to where they were prior to injury. As long as you take that level of care with every patient that you work with and operate on, I think they’re going to have a better outcome.”

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