Building on a 30-year foundation of providing sports-related health services to University of Akron (UA) student-athletes, our expanded collaboration includes a visionary sports health center that will open later this year.
As the Official Sports Health Services Provider for Akron Zips Athletics, the Akron Children’s Sports Health team is dedicated to keeping approximately 500 UA student-athletes across 17 teams in the game.
“The enhanced UA partnership is going exceedingly well,” said Dr. John Polousky, who serves as the lead orthopedic physician for the program. “We’ve seen a lot of athletes not just for orthopedics and orthopedic surgery, but also for sports medicine, sports psychology and sports nutrition services. Many of these athletes have also been referred to other hospital service lines for additional needs.”
Our orthopedic and sports medicine physicians and fellows participate in UA athletic event coverage year-round – from men’s soccer and basketball to women’s lacrosse. Three physicians and two fellows provide athlete medical clinics five days a week. In addition, 10 athletic trainers provide sideline coverage at practices and home/away games and work with athletes in the UA training room.
Rounding out the services is sports physical therapy led by Cortney Myer, a board-certified physical therapist and sports clinical specialist, and another physical therapist.
Chris Kwee, director of Rehabilitative Services, noted that our sports physical therapists are providing an average of 30-40 treatment sessions per week, as demand for these services is increasing.
New sports health center to open in 2023
In taking this collaboration to the next level, we are building the Akron Children’s Sports Health Center for Zips Athletics, which will be a comprehensive sports medicine facility within UA’s athletics complex. It will not only serve UA athletes and the entire student population but be a destination sports health center for middle and high school athletes, club sport participants and weekend warriors up to age 26.
“The new facility will draw younger athletes who want to receive the same high level of sports medicine care as Division I college and other elite-level athletes,” Dr. Polousky said.
Project planning is underway, and the facility will open in the fall. The first floor will house the sports health rehab center. The second floor will have clinic space for our orthopedic and sports medicine physicians, as well as an imaging suite. The facility will feature a throwing wall, agility area, weights, sports equipment, custom orthotics fabrication and a concussion treatment room.
The center’s proximity to the university’s practice field and track will make it more convenient for therapists and athletic trainers to take sessions outdoors. “Rehabbing in the gym can be somewhat limiting, so being able to go outside makes it easier to work on sports-specific moves,” Dr. Polousky said.
Looking ahead, he hopes to continue to leverage the UA relationship with increased collaboration, as well as seek greater community support for expanding these services. One example of the increased collaboration is a plan to create a series of videos that demonstrate home therapy exercises using varsity athletes.
“We’ve developed the nuts and bolts of our Sports Health program,” Dr. Polousky said, “and will continue to look for ways to elevate it to become even bigger and better.”