By Jessica Hall, special to USTA.com
In June 2010, Dr. Venus Moshrefi was involved in an automobile accident that caused traumatic brain injury. Suddenly, tennis was an afterthought. The 45-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colo., endured more than a year of intense rehabilitation and therapy, trying to right her depth perception and peripheral vision.
She was often scared, not knowing exactly what to expect despite being involved in the medical profession herself. “I had to see a neurological doctor because it was over my head in the field I practice,” said Moshrefi, a holistic health and nutrition practitioner.
Moshrefi is thankful to be improving, and she recently got back to playing tennis recreationally. She’s also finding a way to make an impact during the 2013 League National Championships – all without even wielding a racquet.
Moshrefi is serving as the team doctor for her husband, Joe Zalewski, and his USTA Intermountain Adult 40 & Over men’s 3.0 squad, helping the team to the 2013 USTA League National Championships in Tucson, Ariz.
“I’ve been with the team for a little over a year and I couldn’t be happier,” said Moshrefi. “My husband’s love of the game is what got me interested in being the team doctor, and I get to spend time with him while we both do what we love.”
Moshrefi was born and raised in Afghanistan and graduated from Kabul Medical University. Having moved to the United States, she later received a Certified Ambassador Diplomat in Nutritional Education from the University of Miami School of Medicine. Moshrefi also earned a master’s degree in Health Care Administration from the University of La Verne in California.
“I’m passionate about what I do,” said Moshrefi, who has been practicing for 20 years. “I have seen an improvement in the player’s stamina, endurance, energy and performance since switching them to the therapeutic lifestyle.”
That lifestyle endorsed by Moshrefi is designed to improve player performance by utilizing the practice of dietary and nutritional balancing, as well as natural remedies, and it has served the men’s Intermountain team well.
"It's great because I know that she cares about how I feel,” said Zalewski. “When you get to be 40 years old, you get a lot of aches and pains, and she's able to address all of them."
For Moshrefi, the social aspect is what originally drew her to tennis. And as part of her continued recovery, she plays mixed doubles regularly with Zalewski.
“Tennis is a lifelong sport,” said Moshrefi, “because you can be as competitive you want or as relaxed as you want and still have a blast doing it.”