By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Providing information and best practices to players, parents, coaches and administrators on how best to minimize health risks is a key component of keeping student-athletes safe. The Michigan High School Athletic Association has teamed with Sparrow Health System of Lansing to better inform its member schools on such health and safety matters.
Sparrow, a member of the prestigious Mayo Clinic Care Network, is mid-Michigan’s premier healthcare organization with more than 10,000 caregivers. Sparrow’s Sports Medicine division offers programs for athletes at all levels and includes primary care physicians, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and athletic and performance trainers.
Sparrow will lend its expertise through the MHSAA Website and on-site at various MHSAA tournament events. Resources from Sparrow staff, including information on current health and safety topics and trends, will be accessible online through the Health & Safety page of the MHSAA Website.
Sparrow’s contributions also will be promoted through the MHSAA’s multiple social media platforms. “This partnership is one of the biggest steps we’ve ever taken to build the MHSAA’s capacity to address the almost daily questions we receive about student-athlete health and wellness, and to sort out and solve the biggest issues of school sports safety,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA.
A key component to Sparrow’s addition to the MHSAA Website is an “Ask the Experts” feature that connects users directly to Sparrow’s Sports Medicine staff. Sparrow also will set up booths at various MHSAA tournaments where staff will be available to answer similar questions and discuss sports medicine-related issues.
“Sparrow is thrilled to partner with the MHSAA,” said Stella Cash, Sparrow vice president for development and strategic partnerships. “We have the region’s pre-eminent primary care physicians trained in sports medicine who specialize in the prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries.
Parents and coaches can turn to us for all health-related issues and trust we are focused on transforming care to keep their high school athletes fit, healthy and in the game.”
Sparrow Health System includes hospitals in Lansing, St. Johns, Ionia and Carson City as well as Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Physicians Health Network, the Sparrow Medical Group and the Michigan Athletic Club. Sparrow also is affiliated with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,400 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.