By Kathryn Reed
Steve Bannar is about to have his passport stamped several times in the next few months.
The orthopedist from South Lake Tahoe is headed to Vancouver on Feb. 20 as one of the U.S. Ski Team doctors. When he comes back he hopes to finalize the paperwork so he can be part of Doctors Without Borders to help with relief efforts in Haiti.
Bannar is no stranger to going to foreign countries to provide medical care. Usually he is working for Health Volunteers Overseas, which is part of the World Health Organization. In 2004, he spent 23 days in St. Lucia.
He’s also done work in Vietnam.
“The primary goal of this organization is to teach the national people to do the care. It’s a great organization. It’s really professionally done. It’s way better than the Olympic Committee,” Bannar said.
The doctor is hoping to go to Haiti with a friend from the East Coast. They have mutual friends who are already in the island nation helping in the aftermath of January’s devastating temblor.
Bannar said Haiti is in need of surgeons to help with amputations.
What he was doing this past weekend was a little less intricate. Daron Rahlves of Truckee, who is slated to compete in the skiercross event during the Olympics, was in need of some platelet rich plasma therapy.
Terry Orr, a colleague of Bannar’s in the Tahoe Center for Orthopedics, is Rahlves’ surgeon. The two doctors injected the athlete while crews with Red Bull, one of Rahlves’ sponsors, took footage of the procedure.
“Most people are out three months. He is trying to get ready in three weeks,” Bannar said of Rahlves, who dislocated his hip during the Winter X Games.
Bannar will be stationed in Vancouver, headquarters of the Games. Orr is already in Whistler where the downhill events will be staged.