Ensuring a safe, healthy experience for a global championship sporting even | MedStar Health

Ensuring a Safe, Healthy Experience for a Global Championship Sporting Even.

Share this
Lacrosse athletes celebrate together at the World Lacrosse Championship held in Baltimore in 2022.

Pictured above: Lacrosse teammates celebrate during the World Women’s Lacrosse Championship in Baltimore.

When the world’s best female lacrosse players gathered in Baltimore in 2022 for a series of summer-long championship games, the athletes had more to compete with than just their opponents.

The COVID-19 Omicron variant was still prevalent, prompting organizers of many large events to significantly step-up health protocols to ensure guest safety.

USA Lacrosse, the host of the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship and Women’s World Festival, turned to MedStar Health to provide the medical care necessary to give athletes, coaches, officials and spectators a safe and healthy experience.

“When you have a global event like this, you want to feel confident that everything is taken care of,” says Marc Riccio, USA Lacrosse president and CEO. “We knew we could rely on the expertise of MedStar Health to handle an event of this magnitude.”

The games brought more than 500 youth, high school, college, and adult lacrosse players from 30 countries to Baltimore. The games marked only the third time that the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship was held in the U.S. and the first-ever event in Baltimore.

MedStar Health spent 15 months planning for the large-scale event. A group of multidisciplinary healthcare providers, including athletic trainers, physical therapists, and physicians were called upon to support the events, which took place at Towson University and Goucher College in Baltimore County.

Graphic showing MedStar Health provided services including COVID testing, Physical Therapy, Injury Treatment and Prevention Services, and Athletic Training to Lacrosse Athletes competing in Baltimore.

“We knew this would be quite an undertaking,” says MedStar Health Sports Medicine Vice President Sean Huffman, “It required an army of providers to take care of the athletes, their travel parties, coaches, and referees.”

The “army” of MedStar Health providers was led by Richard Y. Hinton, MD, director of national teams’ care; Kari Kindschi, MD, event medical officer; athletic trainer Kellie Loehr; and physical therapist Justin Cooper.

Hosting an event so prominent in the middle of a pandemic meant that in addition to treating and preventing lacrosse injuries, the MedStar Health team took measures to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

“We looked to MedStar Health as our partner, not just for our athletes’ health, wellness, and performance needs, but also to help put on an event that’s safe for our guests,” says Riccio of USA Lacrosse. “And while we couldn’t predict everything, MedStar Health’s expertise allowed us to adapt and adjust to any unforeseen issues.”

Over the 10-day, 100-game series, MedStar Health conducted COVID-19 testing and treatment for event participants, treated performance-related injuries, and provided strength and conditioning services, focused on speed, agility, power, strength, flexibility, and coordination to help avoid injuries.

“In many ways, it was a well-oiled machine,” Riccio says. “From a medical safety perspective, this will now be the standard to which all future lacrosse events will be held. MedStar Health set the bar high.”

Do you need care now?
Find care in your community today!
To learn more about MedStar Health’s programs and initiatives across Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region that are contributing to healthier communities, visit MedStarHealth.org/Community Health or email communityhealth@medstar.net.