St. Luke’s University Health Network has struck a five-year partnership with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s District 11 as the medical provider for select championship games within the district’s 53 high schools and eight counties.
At the selected games, St. Luke’s will provide on-site and on-call athletic trainers and medical staff. Signage and logos bearing St. Luke’s as the sponsor will be displayed, and at each respective championship game, a public announcement will address the health network as the sponsor.
“We are excited about the relationship and how we can enhance what PIAA already does,” John Hauth, St. Luke’s manager of sports medicine relationships, said at a press conference Tuesday announcing the partnership. “It really transcends a sports medicine model; it’s a natural fit.”
With the partnership, St. Luke’s will join with District 11 to award scholarships to two District 11 athletes per year who excel in academics and athletics and show an interest in pursuing a career in health care.
“We are excited about making our championships enhanced with outstanding medical coverage,” said Robert Hartman, District 11 chairman and athletic director of Whitehall High School. “St. Luke’s is a teaching hospital, and the education piece to this partnership is outstanding.”
Some of the select championship games or events that St. Luke’s will sponsor will be for track and field, wrestling, swimming and diving, cross country running and golf, Hauth said.
“It’s great to see them [District 11] putting more emphasis on injuries,” said Cameron Richardson, a standout District 11 track and field senior athlete for Northwestern Lehigh High School in Lehigh County.
With six hospitals and four emergency rooms across the Greater Lehigh Valley, St. Luke’s provides a variety of services for sports medicine, including physical therapy, primary care, a concussion program and fitness and sports performance centers.
Beginning in 1913, PIAA serves its 12 Pennsylvania districts of member high schools and registered officials by establishing policies and adopting contest rules that emphasize the educational values of interscholastic athletics, promote safe and sportsmanlike competition and provide uniform standards for all interscholastic levels of competition.
“Something like this [partnership] is monumental for us,” said Melissa Mertz, PIAA’s assistant executive director. The PIAA is based in Mechanicsburg.