Partnership expands healthcare services for student-athletes

Hanover College athletic training staff

Healthcare for student-athletes has vastly changed through recent decades. Long gone are the days of having assistant coaches tape ankles and treat injuries. Today’s sports medicine staffs must address a wide range of physical and mental issues. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly added further complexities.

In response to the expanded role, needs and challenges facing athletic trainers and competitors, Hanover has signed a multi-year contract with Louisville, Ky.-based Norton Healthcare to provide coverage for the College’s student-athletes. The not-for-profit hospital and health care system is Louisville’s second-largest employer with more than 340 locations and six hospitals in Louisville and Indiana.

“I am excited about our partnership with Norton Healthcare,” stated Lynn Hall, vice president for athletics. “Hanover had a very good relationship with Methodist Sports Medicine (later Forte Sports Medicine) for more than 20 years, but with our team doctor leaving its employment, it opened the door to explore closer options for our athletic staff and student-athletes.” 

Funding from Norton Healthcare has allowed Hanover to hire an additional athletic trainer to help serve the College’s intercollegiate sports program. Hanover’s sports medicine staff now has five full-time certified trainers to provide care and rehabilitation services, injury prevention and athletic education for nearly 500 student-athletes.

“The growth in NCAA regulations, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and demand for comprehensive care really affected the need for change,” said Tony Carlton, head athletic trainer. “Norton Healthcare’s medical staff has extensive experience with the Louisville-area college and university athletes and provides Hanover with an opportunity to get more comprehensive, local medical care with shorter travel times.”

Through the agreement, Norton Sports Health staff members will manage all preseason physicals for returning and incoming students, conduct weekly on-campus office visits and provide regular access to primary medicine, sports medicine and orthopedic physicians. In addition, the company will supply on-site medical coverage for football games and on-campus NCAA and Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship events for all sports.

As the partnership progresses, Hanover will have one-call access to the full array of Norton’s offerings, including surgical, sports medicine, nutrition and dietary, mental health, internal organ and rehabilitation specialists.

“Norton Healthcare offers us services that, to this point, have been harder to obtain for our student-athletes,” added Hall. “I am eager to see this relationship develop.”

Hanover’s athletic training staff: (front l-r) Brittany Graham and Lyndsay Piche. Back (l-r) Tony Carlton, Eric Dorado and David Johnson.