Rochester Institute of Technology and Rochester General Health System will team up to provide a customized sports medicine program for the university's 600-plus student athletes.
The RIT-RGHS Alliance, a partnership between the institutions, opened the door for conversations about the kinds of services RIT needs to support its NCAA Division III athletics program and its two Division I hockey programs, says Lou Spiotti Jr., executive director of RIT’s Center for Intercollegiate Athletics.
“The partnership, which is important, is not the only factor,” Spiotti says. “Rochester General came forth with an accommodating set of services and conditions that make it an extremely attractive plan.”
The Rochester General Hospital sports medicine program, in place this August, provides expanded services, more coverage of games and more on-site service with physicians.
“All our home hockey games—men’s and women’s—and all men’s lacrosse games always have a physician on site because they are all high-contact sports and have an increased risk of injury,” Spiotti says. “RGH will be expanding that and providing more coverage for other sports as well, including soccer and basketball. That becomes another level of care and safety for our student-athletes—those who need attention and those who have existing conditions—and to support our athletic training staff.”
The RGH sports medicine program at RIT consists of:
- Lead RGH physicians: The program is led by Dr. David Privitera, a fellowship-trained sports-medicine surgeon, and Dr. Christine Blonski, a primary-care sports-medicine physician. Dr. Edward Tanner, chief of orthopedics, and other Rochester General physicians will comprise the team.
- Physician assistants: Krystal Kaminsky will lead a team of fellow physician assistants to provide additional coverage of games and services.
- Telemedicine: As the program ramps up, RIT sports trainers will be outfitted with FaceTime-enabled iPhones to confer with health personnel about conditions and to receive immediate feedback.
- Professional development: RIT’s sports medicine staff will have opportunities to visit the RGHS sports medicine team at the hospital and observe the work they are doing, as well as discuss trends in sport medicine.
“We’re excited to have this exchange of current methods and current ways of thinking in sports medicine, particularly around concussion management, which is a very big issue in our industry now,” Spiotti says. “Dr. Blonski specializes in that subject field.”
“The partnership between RIT and Rochester General’s sports medicine department shows how the RIT-RGHS Alliance has influenced a new way of thinking in both communities,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “The alliance has sparked a sense of unity. We’re beginning to see it benefit different parts of RIT, such as the athletics program, and have a direct impact on our students across campus.”
Mark Clement, RGHS President and CEO adds: “We are extremely pleased to be able to extend and strengthen our long-standing partnership with RIT through the development of this best-in-class sports medicine program designed to keep student athletes at RIT safe, healthy and performing at their highest athletic potential. This unique and innovative collaboration will provide the state-of-the-art sports medicine technology, education resources, personalized services and expert clinical care necessary to foster continued growth and success of RIT’s NCAA Division III and I athletic programs.”
Spiotti looks forward to informing parents of prospective student athletes about the accommodations the RGH sports medicine program can provide.
“We have a fine university, a fine athletics program, and by the way, we think, a very special sports medicine system here, composed of our own athletic trainers and RGH, which will be providing service above and beyond,” he says.