Serving Our Communities Through Sports Medicine Outreach
At Friday night football games across Northeastern Oklahoma, there’s an extra team player on the field, ready to help keep student athletes in the game. It’s all part of Central States Orthopedics’ Sports Medicine Outreach, a free community service supporting public and private high schools, Northeast Oklahoma Association of Homeschools and an NAIA university with excellent sports medicine care and training.
Darren Lunow, M.Ed., ATC, LAT, certified athletic trainer and coordinator of Central States Orthopedics’ Sports Medicine Outreach, says orthopedics and sports medicine are a perfect fit.
“On any given Friday, we have a physician, physician assistant or certified athletic trainer on 13 area sidelines, right where they can help with fast answers and care,” says Lunow.
He says because football is a collision sport by nature, injuries can be part of the game.
“By being on the field, we can make arrangements to have a patient in the examination room with one of our orthopedic specialists on Monday morning, often before other physician offices’ phone lines are even open to make appointments,” he says. “It’s one way we reduce stress for parents and help them know all the next steps that need to be taken.”
Lunow explains the groups’ Sports Medicine Outreach goes beyond prompt orthopedic care to bring a needed resource to athletic programs and the wider community.
“It’s more than injury care, it’s whole patient care for athletes and their families,” he says.
The comprehensive program supports schools with athletic training, personalized rehabilitation, injury evaluation and education on fitness and injury prevention.
“Through rehabilitation for example, we get to help kids forget about one of their most trying times and remind them what it feels like to just go play,” says Lunow.
Through the outreach program, Central States Orthopedics physicians also volunteer their time for student athletic physicals. In May alone, Central States Orthopedics provided 1700 student orthopedic evaluations. The service is provided free of charge and any money raised by the event goes back into the school’s athletic or overall budget.
“It’s a something we do because we care about kids, their families and our community,” says Lunow.
For more information, see Central States Orthopedics Sports Medicine Monthly, a helpful resource distributed free to our partner schools and also available on our website.