As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. Keeping up with cities like Allen and McKinney, Prosper ISD unveiled plans for a massive sports complex, equipped with a professional grade football stadium and natatorium, dubbed the Children’s Health Stadium at Prosper ISD. Although the complex will grab the headlines, the name may show a deeper trend in Texas medicine.
The stadium itself is oversized and, dare we say, to be expected. According to Huckabee, the company charged with designing the facilities, the football and soccer stadium will feature a two-story press box and house approximately 12,000 spectators. The turf field will be lined with paved areas to accommodate for live entertainment and give the space versatility for maximum utilization. The natatorium even rivals the football area, furnished with 16 Olympic-sized lanes, two diving boards and a four-lane warm-up region. The enclosed building will fill to 500 visitors.
In any other state, this would be a story onto itself, but here in Texas that is simply par for the course. Hidden inside the commotion though lies a seismic shift in modern high school medicine.
Just last week Children’s Health announced a 10-year partnership with Prosper ISD that will bolster medical opportunities for athletes and match a professional-level stadium with professional-level care. For so long, Texas has treated its high school athletes on par with superstars but hasn’t always followed it up with the care their bodies need outside of Friday nights. That has officially changed.
In October 2018 Scottish Rite opened a location in Frisco aimed to help young athletes recover, stay healthy and learn how to gain the edge in their specific athletic event. The partnership between Frisco ISD athletes and Scottish Rite has flourished, becoming a model for other cities to follow suit. Prosper is just the second domino to fall locally in what is sure to be many more partnerships between school districts and medical practices.
“We are on the forefront for what is happening,” said Jeremy Hollew, vice president at Scottish Rite, at the time of the new facility’s opening. “We want to focus on a growing child.”
Hollew’s statement was subtle but foreshadowed a movement that now is well on its way to becoming the standard bearer for high school athletic medicine.
“We will offer athlete-centered sports medicine services. This includes on-site sports medicine services during school sporting events, sideline medical and athletic trainer support and immediate access for injury evaluation and consults,” Children’s Health said in a statement last week. “We will provide comprehensive medical, nutrition, sports performance and training.”
As Prosper scrambles to keep up in the facilities arms race, their steps in medicine may be the most impactful. For athletes coming into high school, the magnitude of their care will finally meet the number of eyes watching them under the lights.