Emergency medicine had a hand in this year’s Olympic victories for the United States. Emergency physician Ann Marsh-Senic, MD, FACEP, served as captain of the fencing team in the 2016 Olympics. The team had a successful showing at the Rio games, bringing home silver medals in men’s individual foil and men’s individual sabre and bronze medals in men’s team foil and women’s team sabre.
An emergency physician with Independent Emergency Physicians, Dr. Marsh-Senic works at two hospitals, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Michigan, and Providence-Providence Park Hospital in Southfield, Michigan.
ACEP Now Medical Editor in Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, recently sat down with Dr. Marsh-Senic to learn about her experiences leading the US fencing team and how she balances those responsibilities with her career as an emergency physician. Here are some highlights from that discussion.
KK: Tell me about your evolution. How did you transition into a leadership role?
AM: For fencing, there’s really just one captain for the whole team. The fencing team is basically just one team. I guess you can say there are women’s and men’s, but we don’t think of it as a separate team. I competed in 1992, 1996, and 2000, and my coach was the national coach back then. A couple of years ago, he actually asked me to start traveling with them to some World Cups to have someone to bounce ideas off of when he’s in the box when the fencers are competing. He wanted my input on when he should substitute, different strategy ideas, and things to say to the fencers. My husband still competes in championships and World Cups sometimes. We actually went to the world championships in 2015 because my husband was competing. My husband is from a different country, so he competes for them.
KK: When did you last compete?
AM: Officially, I don’t compete internationally anymore seriously—but I still compete in national events.
KK: Now I have to ask you, with fencing, it all looks pretty harmless, but did you ever inflict any bodily injury on anyone with the foil?
AM: You just get bruises and stuff. It’s more likely to have an ankle or knee injury or something like that.
KK: You said you were helping advise the coach on when you were going to substitute. Do you tap out in fencing?