VSON’s outreach program provides year-round support for young skiers, hockey players and more.

If your kids participate in extracurricular sports in Summit or Eagle counties, chances are you already know Rachel Freeman, outreach athletic trainer at Vail-Summit Orthopedics & Neurosurgery.

Rachel Freeman and Dr. Erik Dorf provide sports injury training to copper patrollers. Dr. Dorf led VSON’s outreach department after noticing a gap in the streamlined treatment of young athletes in the community.

After all, Freeman is acting as a conduit to provide more streamlined access to free VSON sports injury care for local school-aged athletes, covering over 2,000 children in every possible genre of four-season activity in the region. .

“My phone number is Summit County’s worst-kept secret,” Freeman says. Her role as a medical quarterback is to help families get the care they need quickly following an injury, and she personally answers incoming calls and text messages from parents, often after working hours.



“I’m here to support all the kids in the county so they can keep doing what they love,” she explains. “We treat over 150 unique patients and about 345 formal office visits, but that’s not counting all the outreach work we do.”

Freeman helped create VSON’s outreach program in 2019 with the help of Dr. Erik Dorf, a VSON hand and shoulder specialist who grew up in Vail and provided occasional assistance at the event. Vail Valley Soccer Club Cup. Dorf saw a need for streamlined sports injury care for young athletes in the community and designed the VSON outreach program to meet that need.



Today, the outreach program helps kids involved with Team Summit, Team Breck, Loveland Ski Club, Summit Youth Hockey, the Vail Mountaineers, Breck Vipers, Vail Yetis, and the Kids Adventure Games in Vail. They have also provided services to Cycle Effect, the Women’s Mountain Bike Program, and Summit High School, while offering assistance to National Ski Teams and other sports teams at events.

Rachel Freeman positioned herself a noll jump away during a Team Summit race. Freeman provides medical coverage to four ski clubs, overseeing sports injury treatment for nearly 900 athletes.

“As a result, I have a pretty cool collection of team jackets,” laughs Freeman. “The role is great because it gives me the opportunity to see them on the hill, in the weight room or on the hockey rink – wherever the parents want. I am able to sort them immediately from families trying to make appointments on their own. VSON is committed to providing people with direct access to care.

Freeman’s year-round outreach work begins in the fall as she attends parent meetings and team building meetings and introduces herself and the services of VSON, including the 22 athletic trainers who can assist in the recovery of young patients.

It’s then a busy schedule of winter, spring and summer activities, accompanying local teams across the state, where she can use her training to make rapid injury assessments and come up with a treatment plan. to patients and their parents. Freeman is also trained in the assessment and interpretation of concussions, a common injury in young athletes, and organizes treatment that can prevent more serious brain injuries.

“I love the kids and I’m part of their journey from injury to podium – that’s the cool thing,” she said. “I have been able to help children from the moment of a femur fracture to the first day on the hill after surgery. I like variety and every day is a new adventure.

Freeman’s role is directly related to VSON’s commitment to community engagement. One of VSON’s core corporate values ​​is to be actively involved in the communities where its employees live, work and play.

“It’s definitely a team effort across the organization,” Freeman says. “From the patient representatives who help me ensure families have access to care to the CEO who has made awareness a foundation of our internal culture. Overall, VSON staff ensure that we can support our community. »

Rachel Freeman with Chris Miller, director of Summit Youth Hockey.  VSON provides medical coverage to all Summit Youth Hockey, Breckenridge Vipers and Vail Yetis athletes.
Rachel Freeman with Chris Miller, director of Summit Youth Hockey. VSON provides medical coverage to all Summit Youth Hockey, Breckenridge Vipers and Vail Yetis athletes.

What started as a one-woman operation has grown and expanded, making VSON a leader in donations, support and business development. Freeman looks forward to adding a new outreach staff member this summer who can help supplement VSON’s outreach work.

“In addition to participating in more youth clubs and sports, we sometimes have events where games are played on four pitches at once. I’m good, but I’m not that good. Freeman laughs. “A another pair of hands is going to go a long way. I can’t wait to take the next step in VSON’s outreach program.”

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