Dr. Marni Wesner

What is your role at the GSSMC?

I am a sport and exercise medicine consultant.

What is your academic rank at the U of A?

I am an assistant clinical professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.

What did you study and where?

Prior to medical school I studied psychology and physiology at the University of Saskatchewan. While undertaking medical studies at the U of S, I did an externship at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. I graduated from medical school in 1994 and continued at the U of S with residency training in orthopedic surgery and family medicine. I came to the University of Alberta in 1998 and completed a clinical fellowship in sport medicine, then I stayed on at the GSSMC as a member of staff. In 2000 I did a research fellowship in sport medicine at the U of A, culminating in a Masters of Art (MA) in Sport Psychology in 2005. I hold a Diploma in Sport Medicine from the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine, and I am a member of the Canadian College of Family Physicians with a Certificate of Added Competency in Sport and Exercise Medicine.

What is your clinical specialty?

My sport medicine practice encompasses all levels of athletics, from the weekend warrior to the elite and Olympic athlete, as well as the pediatric and geriatric athlete, as well as athletes with a disability.

What teams do you work with now/in the past and in what capacity?

marni-wesrner-team-cana.jpgI am the chief medical officer for Team Canada for the Commonweath Games in Birmingham, England, 2022.

I was the Chief Medical Officer for Canada Basketball women’s program, (2014 to 2022), Skate Canada (2010-2015) and Hockey Canada (2000-2006).

I am the head classifier for Adaptive Figure Skating.

I have been the team physician for U of A Bears hockey (1998-2013), football (1990-2008) and basketball(2014-2016).

What are the highlights of your sport medicine career?

marni-wesner.jpgI was chosen to lead the medical team for Canada at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

I have been a part of the Canadian health care team at 5 FISU games, 3 Olympic games and 1 Commonwealth and PanAmerican Games.

I have travelled extensively with hockey, figure skating and basketball to competitions all over the world, including participating in 15 World championships.

In 2011 I was invited to join a select group of international figure skating experts to establish the new adaptive sport of figure skating. I was a part of the group that created the novel system of classification for this sport and I continue to be the head classifier for Adaptive Figure Skating.

Do you have any specific research interests? What are your three favourite publications and why?

My research interest is in the field of the psychology of injury. My thesis was entitled Understanding the Psychoemotional Experience of Major Athletic Injury (2005).

My three favourite publications include:

  • Wesner, ML, Vallance J. The Athletes’ Preference for Gender of Team Physician. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 17(2):143-144, 2007. This research garnered world-wide interest in our findings that was beyond anything I could have expected. After this manuscript was published, I was interviewed by reporters from 34 different countries about the findings. This was the first paper published that addressed gender issues in sport medicine.
  • Wesner, ML (consultant). Shredded – What Would You Risk for the Perfect Body? National Film Board of Canada, 2005. This was a favorite publication for me because it was the first time I worked with a film crew.
  • Wesner M, Defreitas T, Bredy H, Pothier L, Qin Z, McKillop A, Gross DP. A pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma therapy for treating degenerative tendinopathies: A consecutive case series with synchronous observational cohort. PLOS-ONE, 10.1371/journal.pone.0147842. Feb 5, 2016. This was a favorite publication for me because the study did not pan-out the way we had anticipated. We found that people who were willing to participate in the research were savvy health care consumers and they were only willing to participate if they received the PRP treatment. We could not have anticipated this and it forced us to change our approach to the research.

Have you received any awards or accolades?

  • In 2016 I was awarded the University of Alberta Teacher of Excellence Award.
  • In 2006 I was awarded the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in recognition of leadership, volunteerism and contribution to sport.
  • Also in 2006 I won the Kinemedics award for Best Research at the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine symposium.
  • In 2002 I won the Tom Pashby award for best research of injury prevention at the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine symposium.

What days/hours to you work at the GSSMC?

When I am not travelling with a team, I work at the GSSMC on Tuesdays and Fridays, 7 am -2 pm.

What is your favourite way to stay active?

I enjoy anything that involves physical movement and gets my heart rate up. I like to mix things up a do a variety of different sports so that I don’t get bored with one thing. I look forward to different activities in different seasons: scuba diving, downhill and cross-country skiing and skating in the winter; running, biking, paddle boarding, kayaking and hiking in the summer.

What is a ‘fun fact’ about you that may surprise others?

marni-wesner-horseback.jpgI grew up riding on horse-back, but I have also ridden an elephant through the jungle in Thailand, and a camel across the Jordanian desert.