Approximately 40-50 attended a special ribbon cutting ceremony Monday morning, Aug. 1, 2022, to introduce CHRISTUS’ newest resource — a Mobile Athletic Training Room or MATR (pronounced mater), a specially equipped trailer designed to assist at athletic meets and games. The unit will add to the services available to student athletes who are injured during athletic events or practices.
Holding the ribbon cutting in the parking lot at Gerald Prim Stadium was appropriate as the trailer will be located at the stadium in Sulphur Springs most of the time, particularly during home football games.
“This is not an RV trailer. What we have in here and what we will have in here is state of the art equipment to take care of our athletes in Hopkins County and our service area. We’ve got bout 22 high schools that we work with now,” CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital Sulphur Springs CEO Paul Harvey said of the schools the hospital serves. “Dr. [Chris] Meltsakos and our athletic trainers will be involved in a lot of our games throughout Friday night games coming up this fall throughout our service area. So, we are real thankful for the energy and time that they are going to spend on this.”
Harvey noted the process to make the new CHRISTUS Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute mobile trailer come to fruition has been a 1 1/2 year journey that would not have been possible without a number of individuals and groups working together to make it happen.
Harvey offered thanks to Shannon Barker, who served as Hopkins County Health Care Foundation director until recently, for the many hours of work she put in initially to help the project get up and running. He also thanked the Health Care Foundation Board for the dedication and effort they put into the project, including coming up with creative ways to make the Mobile Athletic Training Room (MATR) possible, and Sharla Campbell who lead the effort.
Sharla Campbell, on behalf of the Health Care Foundation Board, extended thanks to Alliance Bank for partnering with them to bring the opportunity to the community.
“As a mother, I want to give a heartfelt thank you to CHRISTUS and to Alliance Bank and the other companies that support the Foundation. It’s a blessing to know that I am raising our children in a community that will and can take care of them, especially since it looks like I’m going to need a standing reservation for our daughter,” Campbell said with a laugh.
Harvey recognized “Tom Sellers and the fantastic team from Alliance Bank,” who embraced the healthcare professionals’ dream to make the mobile center possible as a means to better serve area athletes.
“I am just so pleased and thankful to have Alliance Bank to be part of this effort. I’d just like to recognize Tom and his team right now,” Harvey said of Sellers, Alliance Bank’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
“I just wanted to say thank you personally to Alliance Bank and the Health Care Foundation for all you guys do for us. We couldn’t have done this project without you and we are so proud to have this in Sulphur springs,” said Jennifer Heitman, senior market development representative for CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Sulphur Springs.
The Hospital CEO too offered thanks to Sulphur Springs ISD Superintendent Mike Lamb for his part in the planning process for the MATR. Harvey and Kyle Lemarr, coordinator for sports medicine, met many time with Lamb “to make sure we were on the right track with this whole process, not only from what we do from an athletic training standpoint but really how to take care of our athletes — not just in football but in every sport that each high school has, how can CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital Sulphur Springs make a difference from that standpoint.”
“We are just real pleased to support our community. We are very pleased to be able to support student athletes and provide for them across the market and in our county. That’s very important for us, supporting efforts by the school in any manner and also support of our hospital. I’ve said many times we are blessed to have a hospital of the caliber we have in this community. A lot of communities ours size do not have that and we appreciate very much all the hospital does in health care and in support they give the community. We are just thrilled to be a partner with them and look to continue partnerships in the future,” Sellers said.
“I can’t thank Alliance Bank enough for all the support. When Mr. Harvey, Shannon and I went with him to Alliance Bank, we pitched what we are doing and they said immediately, ‘What do you need?’ That was a blessing, the support you show for our community is really awesome not only will this allow athletes to go back to play it allows them to play safely. That’s the most important goal, being able to have the tools, being able to evaluate them in an athlete training room, to do it properly . I can’t thank you enough,” sports medicine coordinator Kyle Lemarr said.
Lemarr also noted that Meltsakos and has been a blessing to the community, especially the athletes during the last few years.
Meltsakos too thanked “everybody for their support” in attaining the MATR, noting that it is “a beautiful, wonderful thing to be able to help these athletes.” The resources will allow not only early diagnosis of injury for athletes but also help get them back on their feet sooner.
The Health Care Foundation Board last month approved purchase of the final piece of equipment to go into the trailer to make it fully operational, a state of the art mobile x-ray machine to fit inside of a moving trailer. It’s not arrived soon but will be added as soon as it’s available. The MATR already has tables and other stations on which to seat or position athletes who are being seen by the orthopedic trainers and staff.
During football games, the trailer will be parked behind the stadium on the visitors side, where buses are typically parked. That will make it visible and give better accessibility to the field. The tailgate of the trailer lowers so athletes can be driven or carried over on a golf cart if needed.
Starting this fall, in September, Meltsakos will be joined by another orthopedic surgeon, who will be the only hand specialist in this part of North Texas. He and Meltsakos have already been planning regarding orthopedic service offerings.
The MATR will supplement service already offered in Sulphur Springs. In addition to the specialized staff, the CHRISTUS Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute also for the past couple of years has offered Saturday sports injury clinic.
Starting Aug. 20, a Saturday sports injury clinic will be resume every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. through Nov. 12 at CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic Orthopedics, Medical Building 5, at 103B Medical Circle in Sulphur Springs. Student athletes in Hopkins County from 7th grade to college age will be able to get a free exam and x-ray to determine a plan of care to treat their injury. For more information about our Sports Medicine program or Orthopedic services, please call 903.885.6688.