Athletics Expands Sports-Medicine

Sloane Garelick

The Oberlin College Department of Athletics and Physical Education kicked off a groundbreaking partnership with University Hospitals this semester. The program promises to provide student-athletes with additional medical care and puts the College in line with comparable colleges in the region.

“We’re right up there as far as what kind of medical coverage we have now,” Senior Associate Director of Athletics Creg Jantz said. “[We are] top of the line compared to other schools. I’d say previously we were toward the bottom, and now we’re at the top.”

The partnership with UH is highlighted by the addition of three new physicians to the Oberlin College Sports Medicine team: Dr. James Voos, who specializes in Orthopedic Sports Medicine, Dr. Amanda Weiss Kelly, a specialist in Pediatric Care Sports Medicine and Dr. Rob Flannery. All will be present in the Auxiliary Athletic Training Room two days a week.

For the past 35 years, the Department has worked with Cleveland Clinic’s Michael Kolczun, M.D. As the football team’s primary doctor, Dr. Kolczun tended to injuries and referred athletes to other physicians within the Cleveland Clinic system. After Dr. Kolczun’s recent retirement, the College began searching for a new medical partner. e current partnership came partly from the suggestion of Jantz.

“At a previous school I worked at we were dealing with UH,” Jantz said. “UH has predominantly been on the east side of Cleveland. We saw a chance to get top-of-the line medical care for student athletes at a minimum cost because they want a west side presence.”

Before agreeing to the partnership, the three lead physicians also met with Delta Lodge Director of Athletics Natalie Winkelfoos, who expressed enthusiasm about the UH staff addition.

“I think what I liked most about them was the energy and the commitment they would give to our student-athletes,” Winkelfoos said. “I really liked that they really wanted to be part of our team. They want to know your name and your story and why you’re here. They’re going to be really proud to wear our OC.”

The UH doctors will work with existing Oberlin medical staff members, including Director of Sports Medicine Tim Carver, Senior Assistant Athletic Trainer Jill Rondini and Assistant Athletic Trainers Christine Schwartz and John Brutvan, to provide optimal medical care for student athletes.

“Collectively, the team physicians will be responsible for overall medical care for the student-athletes of the varsity sports program,” Carver said. “The team physician is also ultimately responsible for the initial clearance to participate and the post-injury return-to-play decisions for Oberlin’s student-athletes.”

Jantz and Winkelfoos also explained the benefits of the additional medical care that the UH physicians will provide.

“UH has a sports institute by Crocker Park, so when Tim has one of the [student-athletes] come in, he calls over there and, boom, [student-athletes] go there, priority MRI, whatever you need,” Jantz said.

“I think there’s going to be a bigger investment into the care of our student-athletes,” Winkelfoos added.

The new partnership will also allow for students who are interested in pre-medicine or sports medicine to learn from the UH physicians.

“[The UH doctors] want to be engaged with our community, so if we have student-athletes interested in opportunities, they will at least help students make connections,” Winkelfoos said. “It’ll be a great networking tool.”

Under Winkelfoos’ helm, the College’s athletics department has seen improvement across the board with more teams raking in winning records. The UH partnership is anticipated to match the pace at which the Department is continuing to develop.

“We haven’t had much presence besides our athletic trainers, so this is going to be different,” Winkelfoos said. “I think we’re stronger athletes and we’re training harder, so we’re getting more injuries and there’s more cause for concern, so it’s time for us to take the step.”