Athletic trainer to be embedded with police, fire as part of Forté’s Tactical Athlete Program

BLOOMINGTON, IND. - Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, formerly known as Methodist Sports Medicine, is expanding an innovative program in service of those who serve Indiana communities. Forté, known for the highly specialized orthopedic care it provides to the Indianapolis Colts, Purdue University, Butler University and other high-performing teams, will provide on-site orthopedic care to police officers and firefighters in the City of Bloomington.

The partnership is an expansion of Forté’s Tactical Athlete Program, which was one of the first of its kind in the country. The program embeds an athletic trainer with tactical athletes, or professionals whose jobs require a high level of physical activity. These athletic trainers provide in-house preventative care, health maintenance support, injury triage and rehabilitation, as well as direct access to Forté’s highly skilled orthopedic surgeons who have extensive experience with tactical athletes.

“It’s our privilege to help treat these tactical athletes like the professional athletes they are,” said Scott Linger, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics. “Gone are the days when first responders need to wait for imaging or expert orthopedic care. Our team provides continuous preventative care, treatment and access to specialized orthopedic experts right here in Bloomington to help improve their performance and get them back to their main focus – protecting and serving those who live and work in this community.”

Tactical athletes are at a greater risk for work-related injuries than most occupations, which means their colleagues are often asked to switch shifts or work overtime to reach necessary staffing levels. The Tactical Athlete Program helps reduce costs incurred by paying overtime to those who help cover shifts missed due to an injury. It also improves team performance and morale by reducing time spent off work or on adjusted schedules.

“This program is an investment in our firefighters that says we care about you, not only as a person who’s here to fill a role but also as someone who may battle injuries as a result of this physically demanding job,” said Bloomington Fire Department Chief Jason Moore. “It’s a way to fulfill our promise to look out for those who serve in order to help them serve our community.”

“This program helps promote a better mindset because they know we’re concerned about their well-being,” said Michael Diekhoff, chief of the Bloomington Police Department. “Having an athletic trainer in-house is hugely beneficial for keeping our officers healthy and keeping them working. Our officers truly appreciate that.”

Selected to provide care for Bloomington’s police and fire departments is Samantha Ray, a certified athletic trainer who has experience serving athletes at Franklin College across a variety of disciplines, such as volleyball, cheerleading, and men’s and women’s cross country and track and field.

“It is a rewarding experience to give back to those who give so much for us,” said Ray. “In our daily interactions with tactical athletes, we become trusted resources who serve as both healthcare providers and patient advocates. I’m looking forward to supporting these heroes and doing everything I can to safely keep them on the job.”

Forté currently provides tactical care for the Carmel Police Department, the Greenwood Police and Fire Departments, and the White River Township Fire Department, in addition to serving first responders in Bloomington. Learn more about Forté’s Tactical Athlete Program online or by calling 317.817.1200.

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About Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics

Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, previously known as Methodist Sports Medicine, is an independent, physician-owned orthopedic practice recognized as one of the region’s most respected orthopedic groups. Founded in 1983 as one of the country’s original sports medicine practices, Forté’s physicians and staff provide comprehensive, specialized sports medicine and orthopedic care to patients of all ages.

Clinical evaluations performed by highly skilled fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, combined with advanced surgical techniques and comprehensive non-surgical treatment options, provide patients with exceptional treatment outcomes and a return to active living. Forté provides patients with expert orthopedic care in several sub-specialties, including hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder; foot and ankle; hip and knee; joint replacement and revision; spine care and sports medicine. Forté has been trusted by the Indianapolis Colts as their official team physicians since 1983 and serve as the orthopedic provider for Purdue University, Butler University, Indiana State University and numerous high schools and public safety departments throughout central Indiana.

Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics also innovates daily through a separate 501(c)(3), Forté Orthopedic Research Institute, that improves the lives of patients everywhere through advanced clinical research and education.

GREENWOOD, IND. – Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, formerly known as Methodist Sports Medicine, was selected by the City of Greenwood to provide tactical athlete services for its police and fire departments. Forté, known for its highly specialized orthopedic care provided to the Indianapolis Colts, Purdue University, Butler University and other high-performing teams, embeds athletic trainers onsite at municipalities to deliver this specialized care.

“We are thrilled to be able to partner with the City of Greenwood to be able to help their tactical athletes get back to doing what they do best – protecting, serving and caring for the people of Greenwood, Indiana,” stated Dr. Mark Ritter, president of Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics. “These athletes are highly trained, and at greater risk of musculoskeletal injury than many other occupations. Our team will help their team improve performance and do what they do best, even better.”

“We pride ourselves on investing in and delivering the best quality of life to residents and visitors and that starts with public safety,” said Greenwood Mayor Mark W. Myers. “It is the goal, with our Forté partnership, to ensure our first responders have quality care such that they can be at their best.”

Greenwood police and fire department personnel will have quick access to all services provided by Forté, including biomechanical analysis to identify functional deficits, proactive individualized injury prevention programs to improve movement patterns, orthopedic evaluation from leading orthopedic surgeons, and regular follow-ups and tactical rehabilitation with the embedded athletic trainer.

“To have a firefighter off work due to an injury costs our department hundreds of dollars a day and negatively impacts that firefighter and his or her family,” said Greenwood Fire Department Chief Darin Hoggatt. “We anticipate this program will help save money and improve team performance and morale, which are important as we work to preserve the life and property for all who live in and visit the City of Greenwood.”

James Ison, chief of police for the City of Greenwood said, “It is in the best interest of the police department to ensure our professional officers are physically prepared to meet whatever challenges may come their way during their shifts. Having this program will allow us to focus on injury prevention, but also expedite a return to work if an injury does occur, so that we are best prepared to provide a safe environment for residents and visitors.”

Selected to provide care for these athletes is Dave Walston, who has served as an athletic trainer for the Indianapolis Colts for nearly 30 years. Used to working with the pressure of returning professional athletes to play, Walston relishes this new opportunity. “I can’t wait for the opportunity to apply the knowledge and experience I’ve gained in working with professional football players to members of the police and fire departments,” said Walston. “While I understand these roles are different, the principles of a safe and effective return to activity are the same. I am honored to be able to work alongside these tactical athletes and apply my training to help them help others.”

Forté currently provides tactical care for the Carmel Police Department, Bloomington Fire Department, Bloomington Police Department and White River Township Fire Department.

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About Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics

Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, previously known as Methodist Sports Medicine, is an independent, physician-owned orthopedic practice recognized as one of the region’s most respected orthopedic groups. Founded in 1983 as one of the country’s original sports medicine practices, Forté has grown to include 29 physicians and 237 team members who provide comprehensive, specialized sports medicine and orthopedic care to patients of all ages.

Clinical evaluations performed by highly skilled fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, combined with advanced surgical techniques and comprehensive non-surgical treatment options, provide patients with exceptional treatment outcomes and a return to active living. Forté provides patients comprehensive orthopedic care in several sub-specialties, including hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder; foot and ankle; hip and knee; joint replacement and revision; spine care and sports medicine. Forté has been trusted by the Indianapolis Colts as their official team physicians since 1983 and serve as the orthopedic provider for Purdue University, Butler University, Indiana State University and numerous high schools and public safety departments throughout central Indiana.

Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics also innovates daily through a separate 501(c)(3), Forté Orthopedic Research Institute, that improves the lives of patients everywhere through advanced clinical research and education.

Living with a joint that isn’t functioning like it should and has been causing you pain can be scary. You may wonder if you need a joint replacement, but are grappling with fear of the surgery and not knowing what choice is best. Many people have dealt with this unknown as they try to take on their daily tasks. An occasional pain in the knee is one thing, but chronic, severe pain even when you aren’t moving is another. But, is a joint replacement really the best choice for you?

If you’re facing this type of decision, it’s always important to talk to your doctor. According to Dr. Joseph Maratt, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacements, “I tell patients that joint replacement is an elective surgery and that the choice of when to have surgery is entirely up to them.”

Dr. Maratt continues on to explain that these factors should be considered when weighing the pros and cons of joint replacement surgery:

If you find that you have to give up aspects of your life that are important to you because of the pain, it may be time for a joint replacement. No one should have to trade happiness and quality of life because of joint disease. Dr. Maratt explains that most people will know when the time is right for joint replacement, “It’s when you find yourself giving up things that matter to you, missing out on things that matter, or doing it anyway and then suffering for it later – it’s that point when most people know surgery that can help them is the right choice.”

If you find that you’ve tried everything to manage joint pain and aren’t able to have the quality of life that you want, a total joint replacement may be the right option for you.

Learn more about our total joint replacement program.

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