Good Sports: Crozer-Keystone Keeps Local Athletes in the Game
Treating injured athletes is a contact sport, which is why the doctors and certified athletic trainers (ATCs) of Crozer-Keystone Health System and Premier Orthopedics extend their care beyond office doors to the sidelines of area schools.
Together, the orthopedics and sports medicine specialists of Crozer-Keystone and Premier currently work with more than 15 colleges and high schools, including Widener University, Swarthmore College and Penn State University at Brandywine, and Chester, Interboro, Springfield, Ridley, Haverford and Strath Haven high schools.
“We contract with these schools to provide athletic training services, including coverage at athletic events,” says Scott Law, director of Rehabilitation at Taylor Hospital. “All of our trainers are certified through the National Athletic Trainers Association and they specialize in prevention, diagnosis, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of muscle and bone injuries.”
One ATC is assigned to each school on a full-time basis. If an injury occurs during an event, the ATC is on the scene to evaluate and assess what type of care is needed, working with emergency crews if necessary. The partnership allows athletes to access a dedicated appointment line and physicians follow up with them personally. “We are offering similar care to what you would get at a Division One college — which is instant access to medical care, at no additional cost to the athlete,” says Steven Collina, M.D., division chief of Sports Medicine at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Springfield Hospital and director of the Crozer-Keystone Sports Medicine Fellowship program.
That level of personal attention is a draw for schools, students and their parents. “Families like to know that we are on the sidelines for athletic events; that if anyone gets injured we can take over from there,” says Joseph Stellabotte, M.D., sports medicine physician at Taylor Hospital and medical director of the Premier Urgent Care Center in Media. Stellabotte is the team physician for Haverford High School.
He says, “I go out to speak to students and coaches during the preseason and around the year. I always tell them that the approach in sports medicine is the same whether you’re a pro making millions or a high school athlete: The sooner that we can evaluate your injuries, the sooner you can get back to playing. And sometimes you can still get back on the field with an injury, but we want to make sure you participate safely.”
In addition, some participating ATCs and physicians offer health education to the schools and community on topics such as concussion management and basic first aid. “We have a program where we are offering CPR certification to the coaches as well,” Collina says.
As the physician for Strath Haven High School for the last decade, Premier sports medicine specialist Robert Cabry, M.D., covers all of the school’s football games, schedules regular sports physical exams and volunteers for a weekly injury checkout session for athletes on Monday afternoons. He also provides care for Williamson Trade School in Media.
“Schools have always been required to provide a physician for football games because of the level of trauma involved, but the idea of providing physicals and being on hand at schools is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Cabry says.
Cabry says he has enjoyed being a vital part of student-athletes’ lives over the years and his involvement with school teams has grown his practice as relatives and friends of student athletes have come to his office with their own injuries. He sees the work that Crozer-Keystone and Premier doctors are doing in local schools as an important service.
“I believe we will continue to move into this direction because, number one, we have an interest in playing a role in our community, and number two, it can make a difference in the long-term health of these kids if we can prevent and treat injuries early on,” Cabry says. “This way, we are giving them a chance to finish out their sports in high school or college and continue doing what they love.”
For more information about Crozer-Keystone’s musculoskeletal offerings, or to request a prompt appointment with a specialist in orthopedics, sports medicine or rehabilitation, call 1-877-CK-MOTION (1-877-256-6846) or visit http://ckhshmi.crozer.org.