TRMC wellness center closer

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Thibodaux Regional Medical Center CEO Greg Stock said his hospital takes pride in being proactive when it comes to looking out for the best interests of the people in our community and surrounding areas.

With that proactive approach in mind, Stock said TRMC noticed a few years back that there was a need to increase safety in athletics locally, while also educating parents, coaches and players on several key tips and pointers within sports medicine.

To work along that vision, in 2010, TRMC’s Sports Medicine program was born. Today, less than five years later, it has thrived and has gone a long way to make local athletics safer.

TRMC’s 2014 was filled with progress with several segments of the hospital progressing and performing at a higher level than it did in the past.

But the segment seeing a heavy push by the hospital is Sports Medicine and the future Wellness Center, which will attempt to keep all people in our area healthy for longer lengths of time throughout life.

“We don’t want people here just when they are sick – that isn’t what our hospital is for,” Stock said. “We want to take measures to educate – to promote the importance of nutrition and good living – so that people can live longer, happier, healthier and more prosperous lives.”

The push to boost the hospital’s sports medicine efforts fill a big niche in our society.

TRMC Coordinator of Sports Medicine Larry D’Antoni said that for several years, the Lafourche Parish School System has budgeted to employ athletic trainers at Lafourche’s three high schools in an effort to keep student athletes safer in a real-time injury situation.

But no such program existed in Terrebonne Parish – until TRMC stepped in and answered the bell.

“Coaches had coaches doing those same duties,” D’Antoni said. “They were trying to be trainers, while also being teachers – on top of all of their coaching duties. So I thought that if we’d be able to assist our Terrebonne schools, we’d be in good shape and we could go from there and continue to grow.”

D’Antoni came onboard at TRMC after a career as an athletic trainer – his final stop at St. James High School. Immediately after taking over as the Coordinator of Sports Medicine, he got his wish. Since 2011, TRMC has supplied trainers to each Terrebonne Parish high school to meet the needs of the student athletes.

TRMC also struck a deal with Nicholls in September on a cooperative endeavor that will see the hospital provide the university with additional medical resources, as well as public awareness and training opportunities – a deal Stock called a “win-win” for the hospital, Nicholls and the community.

“We’ve been covering the local high schools since then,” D’Antoni said. “By cover, I mean that we’ve taken care of those who needed treatment or taping or anything like that, and then we were actually at the games themselves to make sure that we had a warm body in place if an injury occurred in the game. Those are the kinds of things that we started with and from there, it’s all just taken off. We’ve hired more staff, more trainers and have gotten involved in community relations because we think it’s important to educate – to give back to the coaches, athletes, parents and everyone interested. We want people to be better at what they do. It’s our goal to prevent injuries, when possible, but we’d rather focus also on wellness and prevention over just fixing an injured player, so that’s our goal.”

The hospital’s massive wellness center will aim to fix a lot of that education and prevention, as well. Spanning a massive 230,000 square feet and set for an early 2016 completion date, the more than $60 million project will greatly boost TRMC’s ability to care for the area.

The wellness center will focus heavily on sports medicine and will be able to train healthy athletes, as well as rehabbing those injured in multiple stations areas. The facility will also feature multiple pools.

It will also focus heavily on prevention – namely weight management, wellness education, women’s breast health and also a pain center and spine center.

Stock and D’Antoni agree that once-completed, the wellness center will be one of the kind to our area – the type of facility capable of attracting world-class athletes to TRMC in the future.

“It’s going to be special,” Stock said. “It’s going to really push hard and drive home what we talked a lot about – that effort to continue to promote wellness and education and prevention so that more people can live happier, longer and more enjoyable lives in this terrific community.”

“To think of where we were when we started to some of the things we’re doing now, it’s pretty amazing,” D’Antoni added. “We’ve come a long way, and we’re really proud of where things are headed.”