Being good at what you do will open doors to the world. Such is the experience of Dr. Stephen Foley, team physician for USA Basketball.

Even though Dr. Foley didn’t physically win the gold medal at the FIBA AmeriCup, he looked after the needs of the athletes who did participate. Foley credits his time with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and a coaching connection as the main reasons he got the call.

“My affiliation with the Skyforce led to the opportunity. Mo McHone who used to coach the Skyforce has coached a couple of USA Basketball teams in these types of tournaments was my connection to get my foot in the door. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in several of these events.”

Included in Foley’s travels with USA Baskeball are junkets to Mexico, Canada and the Dominican Republic. With basketball’s international growth, Foley says USA Basketball needs professional players from the G League at these tournaments.

“The U.S. used to take college teams over to participate in these tournaments. The game has evolved. It’s so physical. A lot of times these other countries will have their Olympic teams or near Olympic teams participating. In order to compete, we need a better product.”

On a personal level, Foley relishes the opportunity to work with athletes, but basketball is his passion.

“I’ve just always loved basketball. I played in high school and then tried to walk on in college. It’s just a way to stay involved in the sport. Over the years I’ve been able to cover a lot of sporting events. Basketball has always to the forefront, though.”

There was an instance during the experience that Foley had to use more than just medical skills to make sure a player got the proper care.

“I took one of our players who had a bad ankle injury to a hospital in Uruguay. I speak some broken Spanish, but I was trying to tell the x-ray person that in the U.S. we need a front view, a lateral view and a three-quarters view. There they were taught to do two views. It was hard trying to explain what I wanted but we got through it.”

The Americans did win the tournament rallying from an 18-point deficit to defeat Argentina in the gold-medal game.

In his regular practice, Dr. Foley is a family practitioner for Sanford Health in Sioux Falls but also has qualifications in sports medicine.

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