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Olympic legend joins TOSH

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff
Eric Heiden and sports researcher Max Testa stand together at the TOSH clinic in Salt Lake after the press conference announcing their arrival in the area.
20060619__0Sports

One of the Winter Olympics most storied athletes will soon be calling Park City home.

Eric Heiden, who set a record in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., when he became the first Olympian history to win five individual gold medals in a single Games, will soon join The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) as one of their top orthopedic surgeons.

Heiden was previously based in Sacramento, Calif. where he helped to establish the sports medicine program at the University of California, Davis. He will make the move with renowned sports medicine researcher Massimo "Max" Testa, who will also make his home in Park City. Heiden’s wife, Karen, will move her practice as an orthopedic hand surgeon to TOSH as well.

During the Salt Lake Olympic Games in 2002, Heiden worked with TOSH for a five-week period.

Heiden was the team physician for both the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs. Five years ago, he began working with the U.S. speedskating team and served as the team physician for the 2006 U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team in Turin, Italy.

Testa, a native of Como, Italy, has been the team physician for many pro-cycling teams, is a member of the Italian Association of Cycling Physicians and the Sporting Safety and Conditions Commission of the International Cycling Union. Heiden is also a very accomplished cyclist and looks forward to taking part in that sport both personally and professionally.

As a part of the TOSH team, Heiden will work closely with the U.S. speedskating, ski and snowboarding teams.

"That’s one of the reasons we’re here, because we can work with Olympians on a daily basis," Heiden said. "This will give us the opportunity to work with the speedskating team and other winter sports teams."

Heiden and Testa will work in both Salt Lake and Park City with athletes depending of the needs of the various teams. Heiden specializes in arthroscopy, which specifically focuses on soft tissue injuries of the shoulders, knees and ankles.

This is the biggest thing that’s happened here in a long time," said Laurie Wing, a physical therapist at the TOSH Park City clinic.

Heiden says that he is excited about the limitless possibilities for winter sports in Utah and feels confident that he has settled in a place on the forefront of the industry. He is also looking forward to the advantages the Park City area will offer to his family. Four seasons with winter and summer recreational sports are all things he hopes to get his entire family involved in. The Heidens have a daughter, Zoe, age 5, and a son, Connor, age 3. Testa, who grew up skiing in the Italian Alps, is looking forward to his children being able to learn how to ski a sport unavailable in the Davis, Calif. area.

"I look at it as a small community and a safe community," Heiden said.

Heiden is also planning to work with both his children and other youngsters in the community in his own sport of speedskating.

"I think it’s a great for young kids to be exposed to the sport of speedskating," Heiden said.

He also wants to get involved in various community charities and endeavors that expose children to winter sports.

"I enjoy doing that," Heiden said. "I enjoy working with young children when you can influence them."

Another benefit of the move is being in a town of former and current Olympians who share many of the same interests and experiences that Heiden possesses.

"When you get to know athletes, there’s a common bond between us," Heiden said. "It’s like fraternity."

The American speedskaters may be the most elated about Heiden’s arrival.

"Having Eric out here is like having Michael Jordan out here for basketball players," Olympic speedskater Chris Witty. "To be able to work with him everyday will be huge for the athletes. He’s been a great athlete before. Who better to understand your injury?"


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