The Steadman Clinic’s Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon Dr. Sonny Gill Named Head Team Physician for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team
Apr 17, 2023
Dr. Gill will serve in the role through the 2026 Winter Olympic Games
in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
VAIL, Colo. – Sonny Gill, MD, orthopaedic spine surgeon from The Steadman Clinic, has been appointed to the role of head team physician for the men’s and women’s U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.
Dr. Gill, who rejoined The Steadman Clinic last November, will be the fourth doctor from the Steadman team to currently serve as a head team physician on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (USST). Dr. Tom Hackett is the lead doctor for the U.S. Snowboard Team, Dr. Randy Viola serves in the lead role with the U.S. Alpine Ski Team men and Dr. David Kuppersmith is the head internal medicine physician for the team.
Head team physicians work closely with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Sports Medicine Director, rehabilitation team, and coaching staff to advise on athlete care and participation. As a designated team member, Dr. Gill will accompany the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team to domestic and international events in the current Olympic cycle, including the World Championships and the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Italy.
Dr. Gill first got involved with the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team back in 2004 while he was serving as a fellow at The Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute (SPRI). He began to cover some assignments for the American teams and has served as one of the organization’s physicians now for nearly 20 years.
“I've been working closely with the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team since 2004,” said Dr. Gill. “That includes both the Aerials and Moguls Teams, and I’ve traveled all over the world with them to Chile, Moscow, Europe, Japan and China. It is really an honor to be selected as a lead doctor for them.”
“I have watched these athletes elevate their skills over the years with dedication to their sport,” continued Dr. Gill. “I have seen junior development athletes go from making the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team to participating in the Olympics and then watched Bryon Wilson go from winning a bronze medal at the Olympics in 2010 to now being the head coach of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Moguls Team.”
“I'm excited to be part of that fabric of excellence, having seen these men and women grow and excel on the slopes, mentor them, and help care for them.”
Balancing this additional commitment with his workload and patients at The Steadman Clinic is always a challenge but Dr. Gill knows he has some great examples to follow. After all, The Steadman Clinic has been providing team doctors for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team since its late founder Dr. J. Richard Steadman formed the relationship with the teams in the 1970s. In addition to Drs. Viola, Hackett, Kuppersmith and Gill, several other surgeons and physicians from The Steadman Clinic continue to cover events and supervise medical care for members of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team.
“This association with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team dovetails very well with my work at The Steadman Clinic,” said Dr. Gill. “As a back and neck surgeon, I will be prepared for injuries that these freestyle skiers may encounter. The aerial and moguls events can be particularly hard on the athletes’ backs, as well as their knees and the rest of their bodies.”
Dr. Gill has a plan to make the most of this cycle as the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s head physician.
“One of the main goals I want to accomplish with this team is to not only see them at one point in the year at their World Championships, but to also see them in the preseason because that is when many of them are rehabbing from injury or fine-tuning their individual processes. They're getting their focus really dialed in at that point and I want to be available to them as they progress,” said Dr. Gill.
“We're also trying to build some rehab and pre-intervention programs where we might be able to head off some potential injuries,” added Dr. Gill. “For example, let's say one of our athletes has tight hamstrings. We know that can lead to injury and back problems, so we want to do some injury prevention programs, where we're getting people doing yoga and other core exercises to help prevent those issues. As doctors and surgeons we can take care of those injuries, but our primary goal is to prevent them from happening.”
Dr. Gill is diving in quickly to his new role with the team. He traveled to Bakuriani, Georgia on February 20, 2023 to join the team for the 2023 FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboarding World Championships. This marked the first of many trips he will take as Team USA prepares for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.
“Cortina will be my first Winter Olympic Games and I am very much looking forward to it,” said Dr. Gill. “We have work ahead of us to get to that point, but our focus on injury prevention and the great discipline that these world-class athletes display on a daily basis will make achieving the goal of World Championship and Olympic medals much greater.”
For further information, contact Lynda Sampson, vice president of external affairs at The Steadman Clinic and SPRI.