Covenant Health Partners with Johnson University to Expand Sports Medicine Support for JU Athletes

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Knoxville, Tenn. – May 2024 – Covenant Health and Johnson University have partnered to support college athletes at the Knoxville-based college. Covenant Health will be the provider of Athletic Training Services for Johnson University with the potential to grow the partnership as the athletic department grows.

Johnson University’s athletic program is welcoming two Covenant Health athletic trainers who will work exclusively with the collegiate program. Eric Owens began April 1 and LaDawn Wolfe will become part of the program July 1. Covenant Health Sports Medicine employs athletic trainers who serve Sevier County Schools, the Ripken Experience, and many community-based programs. The athletic trainers are certified and must take a national board exam to be licensed to practice in Tennessee.

Tim Hoskins, Corporate Manager, Covenant Health Sports Medicine

Tim Hoskins, corporate manager of Covenant Health Sports Medicine, says the partnership with Johnson University is a natural fit for Covenant Health because the program exists to serve the community. “For the past 20 years, we have served student athletes in schools and various sports complexes,” he says. “Our goal is to provide great care and to be the first and best choice for healthcare in our community. By having athletic trainers dedicated to these groups, we can engage students and parents alike. Our athletic trainers educate our customers on injury prevention, rehabilitation, and promotion of health and wellness. We also provide expedient care and communication in case of injury.”

According to Brandon Perry, Johnson University athletic director, the benefits of partnering with Covenant Health include aligning the athletic department with skilled practitioners, as well as a natural link to the new Covenant Health South Campus, located on the corner of Chapman Highway and Mountain Grove Drive in South Knoxville.

“The Covenant Health South location is going to make a huge impact on our day-to-day operations as our student athletes now have better access to diagnostic imaging like X-rays, CT scans and MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), urgent care visits, primary care appointments and physical therapy. Now we have a state-of-the-art medical facility five minutes from campus,” he says. “Our top priority is to keep our students healthy both on and off the field. We care about the entire student athlete experience, and nothing can ruin that faster than a major injury.”

Perry says the Johnson University Athletic Department is primed and ready for growth. The university currently offers nine sports, with plans to expand to 12 by Fall 2024. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, soccer and tennis; women’s sports include basketball, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. The university is a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference and has joined Division 2 of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Johnson University has about 250 student athletes, which Perry hopes will grow to exceed 350 in the near future. “By joining the NAIA, we have increased the standards of our program and are challenging ourselves to compete at a higher level while focusing on a quality student athlete experience,” he says.

“The opportunities are limitless,” says Eric Owens, head athletic trainer, who has 20+ years of experience as an athletic trainer. “I want to help grow the program and grow the student athletes, many of whom train year-round. The sky is the limit to what they are capable of, on or off the court.

“The presence of athletic trainers can be perceived as a luxury, but it’s now a necessity,” he adds. “We are there to prevent, recognize, assess, and treat injuries of physically active populations.”

Perry says, “We found that the mission of Covenant Health aligns with our heart and the vision we have at Johnson Athletics. We believe sport is a vehicle for personal and spiritual development. That’s what we do – it’s not just about winning games for us. We want to win, but more importantly, we want to create a team environment that allows for personal growth in our students.

“The relationship with Covenant Health is truly a partnership that we all feel good about,” he says. “We can increase the way we are serving student athletes in the greater Knox and Sevier communities.”

Learn more about the Covenant Health Sports Medicine program here.

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Covenant Health

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Covenant Health is a community-owned, healthcare enterprise committed to providing the right care at the right time and place. Covenant Health is the area’s largest employer and has more than 11,000 compassionate caregivers, expert clinicians, and dedicated employees and volunteers.

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