Southeast Missouri State University student publication

University partners with SEHealth to provide care to both athletics and performing arts

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Senior Alli Newman (center) and sophomore J'Nae Howard perform during a set in River Campus' production of Spring Into Dance.
Photo by Kate Marshall

Southeast Missouri State University and SoutheastHEALTH announced on Aug. 14 a five-year collaborative partnership to provide orthopedic and sports medicine services to the athletics department, the university’s performing arts students and intramural sports participants.”

Southeast President Carlos Vargas expressed his excitement for the partnership, allowing two organizations in the community to provide “value-added services” to the university students.

“This lays the groundwork not only for our NCAA Division I student-athletes, but also our students participating in intramurals and club sports and in our performing arts programs to receive first-rate medical care right here on campus,” Vargas said.

Coordinator of dance Hilary Peterson was key in implementing performing arts to be included in the coverage.

Peterson noted in an Aug. 14 news release the benefits the partnership provides to conservatory students’ training and education.

“This will help with the recruitment and retention of quality dancers who are increasingly aware of the physical requirements of their field and want access to healthcare professionals who can help track their physical fitness as well as treat any injuries they may encounter," Peterson stated in a press release.

The university will now provide a Graduate Assistant and athletic trainer from the hospital to specialize in areas with the Holland College of Arts and Media, according to Rhonda Weller-Stilson, dean of the Holland College of Arts and Media.

The trainer and Graduate Assistant will offer classes to students over a range of topics including ergonomics, over use injuries, lower back pains and dietary issues, to name a few.

Per the partnership, SoutheastHEALTH orthopedists and physicians will provide the university with primary medical care, orthopedic care, athletic training and physical therapy services, and will invest in the university by providing diagnostic equipment and athletic training supplies.

SoutheastHEALTH committed to providing three $1,000 scholarships to students. One scholarship will be awarded to a student-athlete, one to a student from the Holland College of Arts and Media and one to a student in Southeast’s athletic training program.

SoutheastHEALTH orthopedists Charity Jacobs, Anthony McPherron, Matthew Baker and sports medicine physician Andrew Lawrence will start as the official team physicians for Southeast this school year, according to a press release.

Both physicians wear additional hats at SoutheastHEALTH; McPherron serves as director of Sports Medicine and chairman of the Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, while Lawrence is the director of Primary Care Sports Medicine in McPherron's department.

"This is a game-changer for our athletics program, as it demonstrates our commitment to the health and well-being of our student-athletes," Southeast Athletics Director Brady Barke said.

The agreement, Barke said, calls for SoutheastHEALTH to provide services for university students whenever possible, with providers available around the clock to communicate with Southeast's athletic training staff. It also calls on SoutheastHEALTH to develop a plan to track care as well as students' return from injury to sports or their performing roles.

SoutheastHEALTH will also provide a physician during games, two physical therapists assigned to the Athletics Department, one physical therapist dedicated to the performing arts, a concussion therapist, one certified athletic trainer for both intramurals and performing arts, and one certified athletic trainer for each athletic programs.

This is the first time the university has contracted with a group for comprehensive medical services for its student-athletes and performers.

Advanced Orthopedic Specialists have provided care for the university's Division I athletes for many years, but consistency of care was not provided by the same group for the university's intramural, club sports and performing arts students, something unique to Southeast among mid-sized universities.

"I believe this relationship will create the premier Sports Medicine program in the Ohio Valley Conference and one of the more comprehensive approaches to health care of any program our size," Barke said.