Partnership promises world-class medical care for Southeast Missouri athletes

SOURCE: Southeast Missouri Football
SE Missouri's partnership with SoutheastHEALTH provides a whole host of medical care to student athletes & performers.

By U2B Staff 

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Southeast Missouri State University (SMSU) is providing its student-athletes the best health services money can buy, thanks to a new arrangement with SoutheastHEALTH.

The collaborative partnership will see SoutheastHEALTH delivering a suite of orthopedic and sports medicine services for the university’s NCAA Division I athletics programme, its intramural and club sport participants, as well as its performing arts students.

A special team of the firm’s highly-skilled physicians will be assigned to the university, providing orthopedic, primary medical care, athletic training and physical therapy services to its athletes and performers. On top of that, the health group will also invest in the university by providing diagnostic equipment and athletic training supplies, as well as scholarships for students.

According to the university, the partnership is the first of its kind for the university. The school entered into the agreement with SoutheastHEALTH, the region’s premier healthcare provider, after issuing a Request for Proposal earlier this summer in search of comprehensive management of student health services.


Prior to the partnership, SMSU’s NCAA Division I athletes received care from Advanced Orthopedic Specialists. The group did not, however, provide the same service to the university’s sports club members or performing arts students.

“This is a game-changer for our athletics program, as it demonstrates our commitment to the health and well-being of our student-athletes,” said Brady Barke, director of Southeast Athletics. 

“I believe this relationship will create the premier Sports Medicine program in the Ohio Valley Conference and one of the more comprehensive approaches to healthcare of any program our size.” 

SE Missouri women's team
The new parthership will be a gamechanger for SE Missouri. Source: Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks

In outlining the scope of the agreement with SoutheastHEALTH, he pointed out that Division I college athletes were susceptible to injury across all sports, as well as the school’s performing arts students.

The physical demands of year-round training on the youths mean they require round-the-clock care to ensure they are always performing at their level best. 

Proper injury prevention and rehabilitation led by a dedicated team of experienced medical practitioners is the answer to this, and is the key the reason why the university decided to buttress its student health services with the SoutheastHEALTH partnership.

Mike Buck, the university’s director of Recreation Services, noted that many of the school’s student-athletes have dedicated their lives to travel sports. As part of the university’s civic duties, therefore, it was imperative to provide the best student health services to allow them to continue pursuing their dreams.

“What this provides our students is the ability to diagnose and treat their injuries and get them back out on the field as quickly as possible,” he said.

Hilary Peterson, coordinator of dance and associate professor in The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance at Southeast, said the same is true for the school’s performers.

“Having a dedicated group of medical professionals provide treatment to our Conservatory students is extremely exciting and beneficial to their training and education,” she said.

“These professionals will help dancers get back to their training and performance schedules safely and quickly.”


According to Barke, the SoutheastHEALTH team will provide medical coverage at all home and select away games, as well as at Southeast theatre and dance performances.

The collaborative effort with Southeast Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine will, “will better serve a cross-section of Southeast students, improve their performance on the field and on stage and assist them with injury prevention and rehabilitation”, he said.

The head physician for orthopaedics will be Dr. Anthony McPherron, who is the chairman of the Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and the director of Sports Medicine for SoutheastHEALTH. Dr McPherron will also serve as the university’s NCAA Athletics Health Care Administrator.

Dr. Andrew Lawrence, who is director of Primary Care Sports Medicine at SoutheastHEALTH Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, will serve as head team physician for primary care. 

Barke adds that the agreement also calls for SoutheastHEALTH to provide same day services for university students whenever possible. Care providers will be available round-the-clock, working with Southeast’s athletic training staff to help track care provision. 

SE Missouri athletics
SE Missouri athletes will receive round-the-clock care from SoutheastHEALTH physicians. Source: Southeast Missouri Football 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for two organizations in this community to come together to provide value-added services for our University students, and we are honored to have SoutheastHEALTH on board with these efforts,” said Dr Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. 

“This lays the groundwork not only for our NCAA Division I student-athletes but also our students participating in intramurals and club sports and in our performing arts programs to receive first-rate medical care right here on campus. We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with SoutheastHEALTH and are proud to entrust the care of our students to their experienced team of physicians.”

The SMSU-SoutheastHEALTH student health services agreement also covers the following: 

  • Game day coverage for Southeast’s NCAA Division I athletic programs, including an emergency department physician to manage cardiac emergencies;
  • Six full-time certified athletic trainers on staff with one assigned to each athletic program;
  • One full-time certified athletic trainer assigned to work with the University’s performing arts and intramural and club sport participants;
  • Two physical therapists assigned to the Athletics Department, one physical therapist dedicated to the performing arts, and a concussion therapist to treat students with concussions;
  • Weekly on-campus clinic availability by both primary care and orthopedic physicians for student-athletes and performing arts students in the University’s athletic training facility;
  • Equipment, including portable x-ray and ultrasound machines to be placed in the athletic training facility.
  • Pre-participation student physicals, including EKG screenings; and
  • Monthly on-campus drug testing for student-athletes.