Canadian Sports Medicine Specialist Starts Work in Redmond

by Donald J. Ward

Published in the Redmond Reporter
January, 2006

Physical activity is the best form of health insurance. People who lead active lifestyles tend to live healthier and longer lives. Despite training, though, in-juries can and do occur.

One of Redmond’s newest sports-medicine physicians, Ghislaine Robert, has been treating patients who have suffered sports-related injuries for 20 years.

Looking at Robert’s medical history, her background reads like a veritable who’s who and where’s where of international sporting events.

She was part of the Canadian medical team for the 1992 Barcelona and 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 1988, she was a Canadian national track-and-field coach in the Seoul Olympics.

In Montreal, she worked at Canada’s National Training Center and helped care for several Olympic athletes, including gold medalists Bruny Surin (400-meter sprint relay) and Sebastian Lareau (men’s doubles tennis).

She has also helped athletes involved in speed skating, judo, fencing, track and field, women’s handball and down-hill skiing.

There are myriad sports-and exercise-related ailments that afflict people, such as overtraining syndrome, exercise-induced asthma and chronic compartmental syndrome, which occurs when a muscle grows and begins compressing blood vessels and nerves.

One of the mistakes that people make is they try to exercise too much, Robert said. They wind up getting in over their heads, get hurt and then stop exercising. For people wanting to stay in shape, it can be discouraging.

“The main reason people get injured is that they try to do too much too soon,” Robert said.

There are other factors that contribute to injuries. Athletes oftentimes try to scrimp on their sports equipment, choosing to buy something that is cheap, poorly designed or that doesn’t quite fit them.

Choosing the right type of exercise for a person’s body is also important, she said. People whose body frames are out of alignment might want to choose a workout regimen that doesn’t involve a lot of high-impact running. Those with a slight skeletal frame might want to reconsider their decision to do a lot of weight lifting and body building.

“People have to be aware. Not everyone is cut out body-wise to be a long-distance runner,” Robert said, adding that a person has to find the right training program and right technique that fits them.

Many people are reluctant to see a doctor. The same philosophy applies to sports physicians. Robert said that one of the main fears she hears from patients is that they’re afraid she will keep them from exercising.

Her main goal is to not only find the injury and treat it, but to find the cause of the injury and correct it.

“People get injured I want to get them back to doing what they love,” Robert said.

So far the biggest distraction has been locals asking about her accent. Coming from Montreal, it is distinctly French Canadian. Having to start her practice over again has been difficult at times. She moved to Washington in 2002 when her husband got a job in the area. In Canada, Robert said she would be on television shows and her practice would be booked for two months in advance. Now Robert, whose office is at 22500 N.E. Marketplace Drive. Suite 205 A, is starting over from scratch.

Dr. Robert said that she loves the area, though. Moving to the “Bicycle Capital of the Northwest” affords her ample opportunity to engage in one of her favorite sports. She also jogs, golfs, kayaks, and hikes.