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HealthWatch: Cal Doctor To Lead London Olympic U.S. Medical Team

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Longtime Cal Dr. Cindy Chang will head the U.S. Olympic Medical team in London (University of California Berkeley)

Longtime Cal Dr. Cindy Chang will head the U.S. Olympic Medical team in London (University of California Berkeley)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

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BERKELEY (CBS SF) – At the U.C. Berkeley Tang Urgent Care Center, Dr. Cindy Chang takes care of the sick and injured. But soon, the Cal physician will be taking care of the health and well-being of a very elite group of athletes: the 525 Americans who will be competing in the upcoming London Olympics.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Dr. Chang.

Dr. Chang is the Chief Medical Officer for Team USA. She’s the first woman, as well as the first Asian-American, to hold the position. That doesn’t faze her.

“In the end you’ll be judged by your performance and the care that you provide a patient and not so much for your sex or for your ethnicity.” said Dr. Chang.

At the Olympics, Chang will oversee a medical team of 80 athletic trainers, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors and medical doctors. She feels prepared. In February, she and her team flew to London to meet with officials.

“So we could talk to them about emergency situations what’s the ambulance system like, what type of health care and expectations of the host hospitals have, which hospitals are more specialty hospitals for certain injuries versus other injuries,” explained Dr. Chang.

Sports run in her blood. Chang is an athlete. She played club sports at Ohio State University, and became a sports medicine specialist.

“Certainly there’s a certain comfort level of athletes when they know that their physician understands their sport,” said Dr. Chang

For 13 years, she was head team physician for Cal’s twenty-seven athletic teams. She recently stepped down to spend more time with her kids.

Dr. Chang has volunteered before for the U.S. Olympic Committee. She was Chief Medical Officer for the Paralympics Games in Beijing, China. As for fame, she hopes no one sees her on television or in print while she’s in London.

“Because that means something has happened to one of our athletes and I would much prefer to be taking care of our athletes making sure that they’re ready to compete,” said Dr. Chang.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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