A State-of-the-Art Facility for Athletes
July 05, 2021
New Drusinsky Family Sports Medicine Complex will be the ‘crown jewel’ of sports medicine in the region
Innovations in Orthopaedics | Summer 2021
Before Michael Drusinsky and his wife, Grace, helped fund a world-class sports medicine complex at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, Michael got to know the UH Sports Medicine program personally — as a patient. An avid golfer, he injured his shoulder and needed surgery to get back to playing the sport he loved.
“Michael fortunately had a great outcome by participating in what we offer after surgery and did extraordinary with his physical therapy,” says James Voos, MD, Chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, UH Cleveland Medical Center.
That experience led Drusinsky to invest in the program’s expansion, furthering its vision to see Northeast Ohio athletics and athletes thrive and be healthy. The Drusinsky Family Sports Medicine Complex, now in construction, will be the region’s largest sports medicine facility, where athletes of all types can get comprehensive care in one location.
“It doesn’t matter if you are playing for the Browns or just trying to get back to something that makes you happy — you need your body to function in an ideal way,” explains Michael Salata, MD, Division Chief, Sports Medicine at UH Cleveland Medical Center, who calls the new complex the “crown jewel for sports medicine” in the region.
“Our program has been able to develop excellent surgical, rehabilitation and injury-prevention programs to take care of our athletes at the highest level,” Dr. Salata says. “Now, this facility is going to enhance that by putting all our services under one roof — and improving the convenience and services we offer.”
Putting A Roof On It
When the Drusinsky Family Sports Medicine Complex opens in 2023, it will give patients access to a wide range of sports medicine services in one location, from testing and imaging to physical therapy, surgery and outpatient rehab.
The three-story complex also will fill a critical gap for athletes who are preparing to get back on the field: performance training. The state-of-the-art facility will house a complete indoor sports performance gym that includes a real turf field, basketball court, golf netting, baseball pitching lanes, a ballet bar and more, so patients can safely complete their rehabilitation on the field or in the gym.
“When you’re ready to go back to your sport, we can help you do that safely,” Dr. Voos explains. “This facility stands above the rest because it truly includes the entire episode of care from the second you walk in the door with an injury, all the way back to full recovery.”
The vision for a new sports complex started around seven years ago, when Dr. Voos joined UH as Director of the Sports Medicine program. He and other leaders knew that UH needed a more modern facility that could deliver industry-leading care for athletes of all ages across multiple sports.
Before that could happen, they needed to demonstrate sustainable demand for expanding those services by building partnerships within the Northeast Ohio community, including area high schools and athletics organizations.
“It’s been a big commitment from UH Sports Medicine — to weave into the fabric of each one of our schools, working with them and getting to know all the families,” says Dr. Voos, noting that every partner high school has a dedicated UH athletic trainer to work on-site with student athletes, coaches and teachers. “We’re providing athletic trainers, and then we’re on the sidelines with them during their sports.”
Today, UH Sports Medicine provides care to many of the region’s professional and youth athletes, and the program has formal partnerships with more than 50 regional high schools (it started with four). The program also delivers comprehensive sports medicine services for the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Monsters hockey team and Cleveland Ballet, among other organizations.
“We are treating athletes from peewee to pro,” Dr. Salata says. “If our clinicians aren’t on the sidelines of the Browns, we’ll be walking those same sidelines at our local high schools. Sometimes, it’s even more gratifying to see one of the kids compete in the state championship game who felt like they might not get back out there.”
The new sports medicine facility is ultimately the physical manifestation of those community partnerships.
“We’re putting a roof over the top of that program,” Dr. Voos says. Soon, we will have a world-class facility where we can serve most patients and athletes in our region.”
The Future of Sports Medicine
The Drusinsky Family Sports Medicine Complex is ultimately part of the larger $200 million Phase II expansion of services at UH Ahuja Medical Center to provide patients with advanced, multidisciplinary services for maternal fetal medicine, breast health, men’s health and, of course, sports medicine. A pre-requisite to building the campus’s sports medicine facility was making it future proof — from the types of services it offers to its cutting-edge technologies for patients.
“We’re not developing this building for 2021,” Dr. Voos says. “We’re building it for when it opens in 2023, and for 2030 and 2040. It’s a building that been put together to take care of athletes for many years. There was a lot of thoughtful planning to anticipate where we’re going with our care.”
UH sought input from youth organizations, professional athletes and most importantly, weekend warriors. “That is really our largest number of patients — all of us that like to work out and play recreational sports,” Dr. Voos notes.
Like Michael Drusinsky, many former patients also joined on as donors to sponsor parts of the facility and offer ideas. “The majority of people we take care of don’t play professional football,” Dr. Salata says. “They are our neighbors and friends. A lot of the impetus for this facility has come from patients we have treated.”
For example, one of the themes in patient feedback was a desire for programs to keep athletes healthy and injury-free. The team made sure their new sports medicine complex will provide injury prevention, wellness and performance training programs in addition to treatment for injuries. Partner schools and organizations will also be invited to host practices and train at the facility to prepare for their athletics seasons.
“Our vision is to have healthy athletes in the building, using the facility on evenings and weekends,” Dr. Voos says. “We really feel like this building will do a remarkable job accommodating all these levels of care, and all in the same place.”
UH expects the Drusinsky Family Sports Medicine Complex to serve more than 1,350 sports performance patients in its first year.
James Voos, MD
Professor and Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Jack and Mary Herrick Distinguished Chair
Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
Head Team Physician, Cleveland Browns
Medical Director, Cleveland Ballet
Charles H. Herndon Professorship and Chair
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Michael Salata, MD
Division Chief, Sports Medicine, UH Cleveland Medical Center
Director, Joint Preservation and Cartilage Restoration Center
UH Cleveland Medical Center
Associate Orthopaedist Team Physician, The Cleveland Browns
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine