The Michigan High School Athletic Association
and Sparrow are teaming up to keep student-athletes fit, healthy and in the game through a partnership that draws on the knowledge and skills of experts from both organizations.
With Sparrow named the official health system of the MHSAA, players, parents, coaches and administrators will have instant access to the region's health care experts on student-athlete related issues such as training, nutrition and concussions.
"It will draw attention to health and wellness and improve communication and safety," says Jack Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. "There's such a blizzard of information out there that this will help sort it out and communicate things clearly with schools, administrators, coaches, parents and athletes."
Roberts says the partnership builds on the capacity of MHSAA to address daily questions the organization receives about the health and wellness of student-athletes. The partnership will also tackle key concerns of school sports safety including those related to health histories and screenings, head trauma, heat and humidity, and the heart.
Sparrow offers programs for athletes at all levels and includes primary care physicians, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and athletic performance trainers. The health system will lend its expertise to the MHSAA through "Ask the Expert"
—a feature on the MHSAA website which connects users directly to Sparrow caregivers. Experts from Sparrow will also be onsite at MHSAA tournament events to answer questions and discuss sports medicine issues.
"It's rare for an organization like ours to have a connection like this with a health care provider," says Roberts. "And it's unprecedented for us to have a year-round, comprehensive partnership with all sports."
About 1,500 high schools and middle schools—both public and private—are members of the MHSAA. Roberts says that in a typical school year, the MHSAA will receive up to two or more questions a day on issues that range from skin-related concerns to injuries to playing conditions that can affect health and wellness.
Based in mid-Michigan, Sparrow has more than 10,000 caregivers and is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.
Sources: Jack Roberts, Executive Director, MHSAA
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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