USA Nordic continued to bolster its medical staff to provide world class support to its ski jumping and nordic combined athletes. USA Nordic’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andy Chen named Kyle Wilkens as athlete medical director and Dr. Christopher Couture as head nordic combined team physician.
“Bolstering our medical staff this year has been critical to ensuring safety and continued success for our athlete,” says USA Nordic Executive Director Bill Demong. “The additions we have made leading into the new season bring confidence to our entire organization during these uncertain times.”
Wilkens brings immense experience to USA Nordic having served as chief medical officer for U.S. Ski & Snowboard for 10 years. Prior to that he worked for over a decade as an athletic trainer and physician’s assistant in sports-related roles. He has been on the front line with athletes at World Championships and Olympic Games.
“My career path has long been focused on providing athletes with the medical direction they need to achieve their goals,” he said. “Working hands on with athletes both on injury prevention and rehabilitation is a vital element of success in sport.”
In addition to his new role with USA Nordic, Dr. Couture will remain as the head team physician for the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Couture has covered a handful of trips with the the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s moguls squad over the years. In 2017, he covered his first ski jumping trip, spending 10 days in Norway during the Raw Air Tournament.
“I had never seen ski jumping up close before. The first day at Holmenkollen, the scale of it, just blew me away,” said Dr. Couture. “I really like the vibe around nordic sports.” During his trip to Raw Air in 2017, Couture witnessed Kevin Bickner setting the American distance record in Vikersund of 244.5 meters.
Dr. Couture will ensure the nordic combined team has medical coverage for all World Cup events and will be monitoring the athletes’ health and well-being. When asked about his goals at USA Nordic, Dr. Couture stated, “To be an excellent doctor, create a culture of excellence in care, and coordinate medical coverage so the athletes have best possible care no matter where they are in the world.”