This month, Dr. Kenneth Haller is celebrating 25 years of working as a board-certified sports medicine physician at Central Indiana Orthopedics. He has a passion for taking care of injured athletes and helping them return to what they love, whether it’s providing care in the Walk-In Clinic at CIO or on the field as a Team Physician for Ball State Athletics. While he’s had many memorable and rewarding experiences treating patients throughout his career, he reflects on a dream that became reality – participating in several Olympic events as volunteer medical staff.
Being part of the Olympics is something many aspire to accomplish, whether it’s as an athlete, coach, volunteer or spectator. Dr. Haller always had an interest in going to the Olympics, but to attend as a physician and take care of the world’s greatest athletes? That was a dream!
Dr. Haller first became involved in Olympic-related activities in 1996 when he served as medical coordinator during the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Indianapolis. At that qualifying meet for U.S. swimmers who hoped to compete at the 1996 Olympics later that summer in Atlanta, Georgia, he got his first taste of what the Olympic world is all about. “The opportunity to be involved in the Olympic Swim Trials was a privilege and a fantastic experience I’ll never forget,” Dr. Haller said.
By 2005, after nearly a decade of providing care at swimming events in Indianapolis, USA Swimming had developed a High Performance Network (HPN) which provided an opportunity for medical and other staff to become qualified to travel with the U.S. National team. He was invited to be part of that program’s initial class. “I was asked by the High Performance Network (HPN) to be the physician at a Grand Prix swimming event. Seeing first-hand the long hours and tireless energy the members of HPN and USOC programs dedicate to their jobs, as well as the athletes, is impressive.”
Dr. Haller shared that at that meet he was immediately welcomed as part of the team and thrown into the mix to learn everything from lactate testing to race analysis. “Besides doing what I’m comfortable doing (evaluating sick/injured athletes), I learned to better understand a range of ideas from the sports science perspective, which is necessary to help athletes perform at their maximum level.” Then, being part of the HPN, he had the privilege to travel with the U.S. National Swim Team to many meets both nationally and internationally including 2005, 2007 and 2009 FINA World Championships.
The same year he had worked the Olympic Swimming Trials event, Dr. Haller was selected to be a physician at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where he was assigned to the Equestrian and Mountain Biking competition venue. “I’d never been exposed to the equestrian competition. It was totally new to me,” Dr. Haller said. “It was quite an opportunity. I’d like to think that my background in sports medicine gave me an advantage in providing care for the athletes.”
For anyone with a similar dream of participating in the Olympics, Dr. Haller suggests perseverance and patience. He was on the waiting list through the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) volunteer program for several years before being called with the opportunity to work at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista, California in 2004. There, he was working mostly with Track and Field athletes as they were preparing for their Olympic Trials for the Olympic Games in Athens that summer. “Getting to know the athletes and staff, expanding my education, lending a hand in rehab or anything else that needed to be done, I wanted to make the most of my time in case that was the only chance I ever had to participate in anything related to the Olympics.”
Fortunately, Dr. Haller was presented with additional opportunities to participate in Olympic events, including the 2002 Olympics (long track speed skating) and 2012 Olympics (swimming). He is grateful for these 2 decades of unique experiences beyond his practice. A few of his favorite moments are below.
Congratulations, Dr. Haller, on 25 years at CIO, and thank you for giving your patients world-class treatment, whether they’re high school, college or Olympic level athletes, or local weekend warriors! Learn more about Dr. Haller and his practice at https://ciocenter.com/physicians/kenneth-h-haller-do/
Dr. Haller and his wife, Karen, at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where he was a physician at the Equestrian and Mountain Biking competition venue
Dr. Haller and speed skater gold medalist Eric Heiden at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City
Medical team at 2004 Chula Vista Olympic Training Center
2007 World Championships with US National Swim Team
Dr. Haller with Michael Phelps at the 2007 World Championships