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Everyone wins as our Center for Sports Medicine partners with the NAIA

If it’s March, we all have basketball and brackets on the brain, and Children’s Mercy is in the middle of it all!

Our Center for Sports Medicine has partnered with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to provide sports medicine and athletic training services for the 80th Annual Buffalo Funds NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship March 15-21 at Municipal Auditorium.

“This is one of the first tournaments our athletic trainers and sports medicine physicians have been able to provide game coverage to college-age athletes,” said Nicole Fillingame, Sports Medicine Outreach & Athletic Training Manager. “Our athletic trainers typically work with high-school athletes on a daily basis, but have the expertise and education to take care of athletes at the collegiate level also.” 

The Center for Sports Medicine currently partners with nine local high schools and multiple club teams to provide athletic trainers at practices, games and tournaments. In November 2016, Children’s Mercy athletic trainers provided coverage to the Big 12 Women’s Soccer Championships at Swope Soccer Village as the very first tournament to provide services to collegiate athletes. 

It is not uncommon for the Sports Medicine clinic to see athletes through college age as well. Kevin Latz, MD, Section Chief of Sports Medicine, is passionate about following athletes through their entire athletic career. Being the health care provider for the NAIA tournament made sense to Dr. Latz when the NAIA requested our sports medicine services. “We already take care of this population in clinic, and we are happy to provide a much needed service for an amazing group of athletes,” Dr. Latz said. 

Furthermore, Dr. Latz felt this was a great opportunity to deepen the relationship with the NAIA since Sports Medicine has partnered with them for several years to provide the Coach It Right Clinic series. These educational clinics are hosted for coaches and parents free of charge and consisted of three components: coaching with character provided by the NAIA; education about sport-specific injuries and prevention from the Center for Sports Medicine; and an NAIA coach is recruited to discuss the X's and O’s. 

As a continuation of the relationship with the NAIA, a new partnership emerged this year to include the Kansas City Sports Commission to host a youth basketball clinic for coaches and parents Municipal Auditorium. Natalie Stork, MD, Sports Medicine physician, talked about basketball injuries and how to get student athletes back in the game safely. 

“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Children’s Mercy to now include sports medicine and athletic training coverage for this event,” said Mike Higgins, Director of Championships for the NAIA. “Their services are fantastic. We recognize they are the experts of evaluation, management, and education of athletic injuries.”

Learn more about The Center for Sports Medicine at Children's Mercy.

Click here for more information about Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship.