A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NKU Athletics announces partnership with St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Commonwealth Orthopaedic

The Northern Kentucky University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has partnered with St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers to provide medical services to the more the 250 student-athletes who compete for the Norse.

Bothof

Bothof

The announcement came today from NKU Director of Athletics Ken Bothof and St. Elizabeth Healthcare Chief Operating Officer Ft. Thomas, Florence and SVP for Professional Services Bruno Giacomuzzi.

“It’s an honor to be able to announce this partnership between NKU, St. Elizabeth and Commonwealth Orthopaedics,” said Bothof. “The health of our student-athletes is a top priority. St. Elizabeth and Commonwealth Orthopaedics join us in our commitment to enhancing the experience of our student-athletes through world-class care.”

In addition to Northern Kentucky’s focus on student-athlete well-being, both the NCAA and Horizon League placed a greater emphasis on student-athlete welfare and wellness in recent years. St. Elizabeth and Commonwealth Orthopaedics share in that vision and will assist in promoting the total health of the Norse athletes.

“This partnership with Northern Kentucky University allows St. Elizabeth to bring our collective sports medicine and athletic training expertise to the Division I level,” says Giacomuzzi, “We have long provided athletic training services to Northern Kentucky high schools and Thomas More College. During this time, we have trained more than 150 coaches in CPR and provided extensive concussion education. Along with our physician colleagues at Commonwealth Orthopaedics, we look forward to serving the needs of Northern Kentucky University athletes both at the Division I and intramural levels.”

Keeping in line with the athletic department’s strategic plan Uprising and placing an emphasis on student-athlete well-being, the partnership increases the amount of athletic training services provided to NKU’s student-athletes. St. Elizabeth will add two additional full-time athletic trainers to the staff covering the Norse, while also providing a physical therapist who will be on campus three times a week.

Giacomuzzi

Giacomuzzi

Additionally, the agreement includes access to the services of a registered dietician to improve the nutritional education for NKU’s student-athletes.

Northern Kentucky’s four current athletic trainers will continue to serve the Norse, including Associate Athletic Director Molly Woods. Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers’ Dr. James Bilbo remains the program’s medical director and head team orthopedist, while Dr. Forest Heis continues as the assistant team orthopedist. NKU has access to all doctors at Commonwealth in order to provide specialized services as needed.

As head team physician at NKU, I’m looking forward to continuing my long-standing relationship providing the best sports medicine care to NKU’s student-athletes,” Bilbo said. “Division I athletics requires care which enhances quick recovery and minimizes time away from sport, and that is what Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers provide. Coaches, student-athletes and parents are all looking for this care and that is what we provide. I look forward to now partnering with St. Elizabeth in this effort.”

Current Norse primary care physician Dr. Matthew DesJardins of Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers remains in that role and is joined by Dr. Tyler Browning and Dr. Michael Miller from St. Elizabeth. NKU’s Athletic Training staff has 24/7 access to the entire medical team.

As the premier healthcare provider in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati region, St. Elizabeth has made partnering with Northern Kentucky University a priority in recent years. Within the last year, St. Elizabeth made an $8 million investment to support the design and construction of simulation facilities in NKU’s new Health Innovation Center, which is currently under construction and set to open in 2018.

Both St. Elizabeth and Commonwealth will maintain sponsorships with Norse Athletics and BB&T Arena as part of the agreement.

Northern Kentucky University

*Note: cover photo courtesy of NKU Athletics Communications/Doug Cochran

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