Newman grad helps to keep Vonn on track

  • FILE - Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 file photo, Lindsey Vonn of the United States speeds down the course during an Alpine Ski, Women's World Cup super-combined race, in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Vonn revealed Wednesday Feb. 10, 2010 she bruised her right shin while training last week and might skip some practice sessions at the Olympics but plans to race. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati, File)

As my phone interview continued Sunday, after finding out how Bill Sterett became Dr. Bill Sterett after he graduated from Cardinal Newman in 1987, after finding out how he became the head physician for the U.S. Women's Alpine Ski Team, Dr. Sterett said something that made me howl in laughter. I told him right then I would remember what he said for the rest of my life.

Dr. Sterett was talking about all the cures that have been suggested to heal the very famous right shin of the very famous Lindsey Vonn, the most publicized athlete of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Vonn suffered a deep bruise in a training accident 12 days before the start of The Games. Last Wednesday the Alpine skier said she was "very scared" she might not be able to compete, the pain so severe.

Dr. Sterett was inundated with suggestions on how to treat Vonn, who was going to be the Golden Girl of Vancouver the way Michael Phelps was the Golden Boy of the Beijing Summer Games. All manner of lotions and salves and ointments were offered. Someone had designed an aluminum brace. Some, clearly, had the distinct odor of a quick-rich scheme.

And then there was The One.

"A guy said," Dr. Sterett said, "he had been developing a new silicone implant for breasts that he was sure he could adapt to protect Lindsey's shin."

I don't know exactly why, but the thought of a world-class athlete screaming down a mountain wearing a silicone breast implant on her leg, well, it sent me to a screech so loud, I now will apologize once again for yelling into your ear, Dr. Sterett.

I mean, would they have to duct tape that sucker to Lindsey's leg?

"Her announcement set off a firestorm that is remarkable," Dr. Sterett said.

Dr. Sterett knew there would be a fuss made when Vonn, 25, said she might not be able to compete. She is on her way to winning her third consecutive women's World Cup championship. She is the best women's skier in U.S. history. Yet, Dr. Sterett admitted, he was still a bit surprised at the level of interest.

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