UDM Athletics and Henry Ford Health System strike a beneficial balance
Titan sports are a highlight at University of Detroit Mercy, but where there’s excitement and energy, there’s also a big chance that something calamitous can happen. Consider these three: a basketball player’s eye injury, a lacrosse player’s dislocated elbow, a golfer with a life-threatening illness. Real, recent crises like these can devastate a college student-athlete. Fortunately, because of UDM’s 24-hour-a-day relationship with Henry Ford Health System (HFHS), on-the-spot treatment enabled these student-athletes a safe and successful return to their respective sport. For many years, UDM and HFHS have partnered to provide medical attention for the Titans, as well as positive exposure for HFHS.
Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Michael Miller said, “Our partnership, slated to run through 2011, offers both extended medical coverage and exposure in sponsorship.” The partnership involves scoreboard signage, print advertisements, and television commercials in conjunction with Titan Basketball broadcasts on FOX Sports Detroit.
The affiliation benefits for UDM are equally profound. “Now we have expanded medical coverage and support in the form of Henry Ford’s sports medicine fellows,” Miller said. The fellows, who are fully licensed and residency-trained physicians, receive additional training in sports medicine. Aside from performing sports physicals, the fellows staff an on-site sports clinic.
Such additional coverage is especially helpful, given the large number of high-risk Titans sports. “Soccer, lacrosse, softball and cross country are just a few of the sports that produce intense injuries,” Miller said. “So many incidents have occurred with a potentially tragic outcome if it weren’t for our on-site treatment provided by HFHS. Because of this venture, we are able to give Titan student-athletes outstanding care right when it’s needed.”
Michael Workings, M.D., the Titans’ lead team physician, had already worked at UDM for more than a decade when Miller came on board in 2006. Together, they brainstormed to expand the relationship between the hospital system and the University. “Henry Ford Health System values the relationship with the school,” Miller said. “We were able to come up with a program that would be beneficial to both institutions.”
At UDM, Workings is supported by the Henry Ford Medical Group, including UDM team orthopedist Terence Lock, M.D. Aside from their practices and outreach in the UDM athletic community, both doctors have additional sports-related responsibilities. Workings serves as team physician for the Detroit Tigers, while Lock is a team orthopedist for the Detroit Lions.
A family medicine physician, Workings is deeply committed to his longstanding relationship with UDM. “I feel my role at UDM accomplishes my need to serve my community of origin. I grew up within two miles of UDM, graduated from Gesu Elementary and U of D High,” he said. “Now, by living in Green Acres and serving UDM as its team physician, I can help future residents and students share my experience.”
UDM Director of Athletics Keri Gaither is pleased with the UDM/HFHS relationship, as well. “Our relationship with Dr. Workings, his fellow colleagues and HFHS is valuable for Titan Athletics,” she said. “This is such an exciting time for the Titan program, and we are thrilled to have HFHS involved in such a meaningful way.”
The school’s athletic future is bright, according to Workings. “Over the years, I have seen many changes in the programs here and the scope of support we provide athletes and students,” he said. “On-site game coverage has expanded to be full scope health coverage in a concierge 24/7/365 medicine model. These academic institution-health care partnerships demonstrate how health management and maintenance can be in our country.” He credits Miller’s efforts in strengthening the affiliation. “Michael built on his predecessors’ work by turning the relationship between UDM and HFHS into a genuine and full scope partnership,” Workings said. “We have dreams of taking things further to make UDM a top-notch destination for the college athlete.”