McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Mac prof serves as boxing physician for Rio 2016

Published: August 4, 2016
Kien Trinh
McMaster professor Dr. Kien Trinh (centre) with Dr. Shirdi Nulliah of Boxing Alberta (left) and Dr. Sam Adiga of Ontario Boxing (right) ringside at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

McMaster University will have a professor sitting ringside, taking in the fights at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games – at least until he’s called into action.

Dr. Kien Trinh, clinical professor of family medicine for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, is the Field of Play Physician in boxing for the games, and he’ll be treating boxers from all around the world.

Trinh, who is also the medical director for Boxing Canada, is attending his third Summer Olympics in this role. He says, despite the recent news stories about the possible unpreparedness of the host country Brazil, his approach will not change.

“According to Rio 2016, the risk of Zika is minimal.  The Brazilian organizer did a great job for the Pan American Games in 2007.  I have no doubt that they will put on a great show for the world again this time.”

In addition to the Olympics, Trinh has served as team physician for Canada at the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic and Brazil, and most recently as the lead physician for the boxing complex during the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. As a certified ringside physician by the International Boxing Association, Trinh has covered many other professional combat sports, including mixed martial arts (MMA), the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), judo, karate and taekwondo.

So how does a clinical professor become involved in so many different international bouts and competitions? Well, it helps that he’s accomplished in the sport himself.

“The doctor for an event in Hamilton was ill last minute and a national coach thought that because I was a taekwondo black belt, I should know something about boxing,” said Trinh about his introduction to boxing. “He invited me to be the ringside physician for that event. Then it went on from there.”

With first-hand knowledge of the intensity and risks of injury that come with combat sports, Trinh said he’s able to connect with athletes more effectively and provide proper medical care.

He’s also been able to offer comfort to those athletes who are tens of thousands of kilometres away from their country and their own doctors.

And sometimes that care extends outside the ring.

“I was able to put an injured American spectator and his family at ease during Beijing 2008,” he said. “They felt more at home having someone who could English to him as I helped him out with an injury.”

The first bell for the boxing event rings on Saturday, August 6 at 10 a.m. EST. A full schedule for boxing is available here.


Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0