The Doctors reveal top winter health tips from some of the most inspiring summer Olympians.
“If you’re feeling a little sluggish as the weather gets a little colder, consider today’s show our way of helping you come out of your health hibernation,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Apolo Ohno on Championing Awareness
Apolo Anton Ohno is a world champion speed skater and the most decorated athlete in the history of the winter Olympics, winning eight medals, two of which were gold. Apolo’s athletic victories didn’t end on the ice. In 2007, he showed the world that his moves are just as smooth on the dance floor by being crowned the season 4 champion of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars; however, behind the athletic accomplishments, Apolo has dealt with a serious health hurdle for most of his life.
For the first time publicly, Apolo opens up about his struggle with exercise-induced bronchospasm. The condition causes an obstruction of transient airflow that typically occurs five to 15 minutes after physical exertion.
“It’s a narrowing of the pathways during exercise,” Apolo explains. “I didn’t know that I had it, much like many of the estimated 30 million Americans who actually have EIB.”
Apolo explains that he initially attributed his symptoms of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and decreased endurance to a natural byproduct of not being in shape.
“If it wasn’t for my proper diagnosis back in the year 2000, I can honestly say [that] I probably would have never been able to reach the heights of my performance and my career up to this point.”
Apolo explains that his primary goal, speed skating aside, is to raise awareness about EIB. “We’re just trying to get people to not let these things hinder their ability,” he says.
• Learn about EIB All-Stars, a website dedicated to education and inspiration for people with exercise-induced bronchospasm.
Showdown in the Sand
Making a Splash
When USA Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones isn’t competing or training, he’s advocating for water safety.
“We’re trying to really change the perception of swimming, because a lot of people think of it as a hobby and a sport but it’s also a life skill,” Cullen says. “We need to change that to a priority in the U.S. because kids are dying. Under the age of 14, [drowning] is the second-leading cause of accidental deaths, next to car crashes, so swimming is a big deal.”
After nearly drowning at the age of five, Cullen overcame his fear of water to win a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2009, Cullen and the USA Swimming Foundation launched its Make a Splash Tour, presented by Phillips 66. The Make a Splash Initiative is targeted towards children and aims to provide the lifesaving tools and training for every child in America to learn to swim.
Never Losing Sight of Success
Lieutenant Brad Snyder began his military career in 2006. In September of 2011, he and his platoon were stationed in Afghanistan when his life was altered forever.
“We were on a foot patrol, walking from village to another, and two of our Afghan partners stepped on an improvised landmine in the ground. While I was engaged, moving the second casualty, I stepped on a secondary explosive,” he recalls.
Lt. Snyder was medevaced for an immediate surgery to repair facial damage that he sustained from the blast.
“Unfortunately, I did suffer irreparable damage to both of my eyes and lost complete eyesight,” he says.
Lt. Snyder’s left eye was removed along with portions of his right eye, resulting in two prosthetic eyes that he wears currently. After five weeks of physical recovery, he began to swim as part of his rehabilitation program.
“I adopted my stroke so that I always have a hand in front. So, worst-case scenario, [if] I miscount, then I crash in, at least I catch myself with my hand and not my face,” he explains. “The second element that aids blind swimmers is that either a coach or a teammate will stand on the side of the pool with about a five-foot-long pole with a tennis ball on the end, and as you approach the wall, your ‘tapper’ will tap you on the back to let you know that you’re approaching the wall and that you need to execute a turn,” Lt. Snyder adds.
After more and more practice, Lt. Snyder was able to gain a roster spot on the U.S. Paralympics Team. In his first tryout, he qualified to make the national team in the 50-meter freestyle race.
On the one-year anniversary of his injury in Afghanistan, Lt. Snyder was in London, competing in the Paralympics. He won two gold medals and one silver medal, and received further honorary recognition from First Lady Michelle Obama. In addition, Lt. Snyder plans to compete in the 2016 Paralympic Games as a triathlete.
“Overcoming adversity is a decision that everyone makes, and it’s a tough decision to make and I understand that 100 percent,” Lt. Snyder says. “You can let that beat you or you can make the decision to move forward.”
• See the interesting ways that Lt. Snyder has learned to adapt to his blindness.
The Track to Better Health
Olympic track and field sensation Carmelita “The Jet” Jeter currently holds the record for being the fastest woman in the world. Dr. Lisa gets some inside secrets from Carmelita with exercise and nutrition tips for better health and endurance.
• Web Exclusive:
Carmelita shares her eating regimen.