In the spring of 2011, Mercer University made plans to include a sports medicine clinic inside of the Drake Field House that was part of the new football stadium. On Aug. 7, 2013, Mercer announced in a news release that the sports clinic was officially open.
According to the news release, the main goal of the sports clinic is to offer physical therapy, evaluation and treatment of non-surgical, sports related injuries to athletes and physically active people of all ages.
The clinic’s staff currently includes a physician board-certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics specifically qualified in Sports Medicine, a licensed practical nurse and a receptionist. There are also plans to hire a physical therapist and radiology technician in the future to round out the services offered by the clinic.
The clinic’s on-site physician is Dr. Shelley Street Callender. Her previous experience with Sports Medicine includes working with the Junior and Special Olympics, the NCAA, as well professional basketball and football teams.
Services are available to all Mercer student athletes, as well as Mercer faculty, staff and the general community at the sports clinic. Dr. William F. Bina III, dean of the School of Medicine, said, “The clinic offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment of non-surgical sports-related injuries and conditions to athletes and physically active individuals of all ages throughout central Georgia.”
He also said, “The clinic has arrangements with local orthopedic surgeons for needed consultations and referrals of surgical treatable problems.”
The Sports Medicine Clinic differs from Mercer’s Student Health Center in several ways. The Student Health Center offers services including immunizations, general health education, allergy injections and treatment of minor injuries, whereas the sports clinic focuses more on providing services related to physical injuries.
Another key difference between the two facilities lies in the way they operate. According to Callender, chief of Sports Medicine, “The Sports Medicine Clinic is also available to all Mercer students to use, the difference being that it operates just like your personal family doctor’s office.” What she means by this is that appointments with the Sports Medicine Clinic may require the patient to make a co-payment or another out of pocket fee depending on their health insurance coverage.
She also said that a difference between the sports clinic and the Student Health Center is that the health center does not have any out of pocket cost on the part of the students or their parents for using the its services, although there may be a small cost for additional services such as lab or radiology services. It is available to any Mercer student with health insurance, regardless of whether the student uses their parents’ insurance or they pay for the school-sponsored coverage.
Students under the school health plan are still encouraged to seek treatment at the Student Health Center first before seeking care the sports clinic. The health center may refer that student to another health care provider, such as Mercer’s sports clinic afterwards. Mercer’s website provides additional information on the clinic’s services.