Dr. Bert Mandelbaum and Dr. Lee Pace of Santa Monica Orthopaedic Group are proud to have served special athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 this past summer.

Dr. Bert Mandelbaum on the sidelines at Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015.

As Chief Medical Officer for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, Dr. Mandelbaum was tasked with developing a comprehensive medical system that managed athletes and delegates during the games. “Caring for special athletes required a multidisciplinary and diverse team of medical personnel across a wide spectrum of specialties working together to optimize all levels of care,” Dr. Mandelbaum said. The medical team's primary roles were prevention of injury and illness, management of medical problems, and optimizing the performance of athletes. Thanks to the collaboration between multiple medical institutions, 650 volunteer physicians, the LAPD and LAFD, Dr. Mandelbaum believes that the team was overwhelmingly successful in achieving their goals.

“It is an incredible experience to take care of special athletes," Dr. Mandelbaum said. “In my career I’ve cared for youth high school athletes, elite, and professional athletes, each of which is exciting from a different perspective. This category is most noteworthy to see the joy, the determination, and the amazing celebrations of each of these athletes at all moments. During the games, the message is clear for all of us at all times to appreciate the important oath of Special Olympics athletes that says, ‘Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’”

Dr. Lee Pace in the stands at Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015.

Dr. Lee Pace, Venue Medical Director for Balboa Park (Soccer) and Griffith Park (Golf and Equestrian) reflected on his on-the-ground experience at the games. “While many special athletes have medical conditions that require careful attention, most injuries are still orthopedic in nature,” Dr. Pace says. “Having an orthopedist on the sidelines still proves the most advantageous concerning injury management. As sports medicine orthopedists are required to understand and recognize various medical conditions that can occur in any athlete, special or otherwise, orthopedists are a very natural fit to manage the special athlete.”

Dr. Vernon Williams, Dr. Bert Mandelbaum, and Dr. Lee Pace at Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015.

Dr. Vernon Williams of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic joined the team as Medical Director for Concussions providing insight and expertise from his eighteen-year history with sports neurology. Santa Monica Orthopaedic Group and Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic are part of the Kerlan-Jobe Institute, a Cedars-Sinai affiliate. The clinics look forward to future endeavors together as part of the Kerlan-Jobe Institute, serving athletes of all types to ensure they are experiencing life in motion.

To learn more about the athletic teams that Santa Monica Orthopaedic Group treats, visit the Sports Medicine Affiliations page by clicking here.