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North Oaks, Southeastern Louisiana University Athletics Strengthen Partnership

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Melanie Lanaux Zaffuto
North Oaks, Southeastern Louisiana University Athletics Strengthen Partnership

North Oaks Health System and Southeastern Louisiana University Athletics jointly announce the further strengthening of their partnership with a multi-year agreement through 2023. The announcement is being made in conjunction with Super Lion Saturday, March 6, during which North Oaks will serve as the game day sponsor of the Lions’ home football game season opener versus McNeese.

While the naming rights to the court at the University Center are perhaps the most tangible sign of the partnership, paramount to the agreement is North Oaks’ continuance of its role as the official health care provider of Southeastern Louisiana University Athletics, notes Jessica Bennett, the health system’s vice president of the orthopedics service line.

“From the provision of physicals and on-campus clinics for primary and orthopedic care to elite sports medicine services inclusive of nutrition, performance enhancement and injury prevention, we are committed to addressing the care of student-athletes holistically,” Bennett continues. “Our approach punctuates the fact that health care is much like a team sport.”

Leading the charge is North Oaks Sports Medicine Medical Director Katy Morris, M.D., and team physician Jeffrey Witty, M.D., both of whom are orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists. They are joined by Stacy Newman, M.D., internal medicine and infectious disease physician serving as medical director of General Medicine; as well as a team of physical therapists, certified collegiate athletic trainers, dietitians and other providers.

The relationship is synergistic in that Southeastern Athletics supports North Oaks Sports Medicine’s high school physical days, annual seminar for coaches and its ongoing efforts to implement strength and performance training programs in the schools. High school student-athletes also will continue to have access to treatment at North Oaks Sports Medicine’s clinic on the university’s campus.

“The strengthening of our partnership could not have come at a better time in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jay Artigues, athletic director for Southeastern Louisiana University, asserts. “North Oaks was with us every step of the way providing expert guidance and support to ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaching staff and personnel, as we navigated uncharted territory.”

Helping to formulate COVID-19 safety protocols, hosting informative question and answer sessions for student-athletes and providing testing and surveillance to meet NCAA and Southland Conference mandates are just some examples of the ways North Oaks assisted Southeastern in protecting the health and ability to compete of student-athletes during the pandemic.

“Many of our staff members and volunteers have deep ties and allegiances to the university – myself included,” shares North Oaks President/Chief Executive Officer Michele Sutton, who is a lifetime member and 2020 Alumna of the Year for Southeastern’s Alumni Association, member of the Lions Athletic Association Board of Directors and 2020 recipient of the baseball team’s Lion for Life Award.

She continues, “Athletics is just one of many partnerships shared between our health system and the university. In Southeastern, North Oaks has a like-minded community partner, and it is our distinct honor and privilege to work with our hometown university to ensure the health and safety of their student-athletes on the playing field and in the classroom, as well as improve life for Louisianans.”