Shelby Hoppis is preparing to summit one of the peaks of her professional career this summer when she heads to Japan in mid-July.
The lead athletic trainer at St. Luke’s will be on the elite medical team supporting American female wrestlers at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which were rescheduled from last year because of the COVID pandemic. This will be her first outing at the Olympics, though Hoppis has served in this capacity for the USA Wrestling and Squash championships as well as the Pan Am Games in Peru and Kazakhstan.
As a medical team member, Hoppis says she’ll be with the wrestlers, ages 25 to 30, “whenever they are doing something.” That includes competing, training, warming up and cooling down. And yes, when they are getting COVID testing, which takes place frequently before and during the games.
“I’ll be making sure everything goes well and the health and safety of the athletes are ensured,” she says.
She has prepared for this impressive level for most of her academic and working life as an athletic trainer. She looks forward to supporting these elite athletes who are at the height of their physical prowess.
She will stretch, massage, tape, mobilize, splint them, if needed. Her role — and that of the physician, athletic trainers, chiropractor and massage therapist on the team — is to enhance the athletes’ “performance maintenance” during their competition, which runs Aug. 1 to 7. One thing she won’t have time for is sightseeing.
Should a wrestler suffer a fracture, dislocation, concussion or other injury, she and the medical team will assess and treat the athlete and determine if emergency care is needed.