Sport Medicine clinic opens at MCBH

28 Feb 2003 | Sgt. Alexis R. Mulero

Athletes on base will receive better and faster medical treatment aboard MCB Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, due to the opening of its new Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy facility at building 221, adjacent to the Base Theatre and swimming pool, March 11.

The new Sports Medicine and Reconditioning Team Center  is a project that has been in the works for the last four months and was funded by Naval Medical Clinic Pearl Harbor and MCB Hawaii.

The moving, renovation, additional equipment and furniture for the clinic will cost approximately more than $100, 000.

One of the reasons for creating a SMART Center aboard base is that it usually takes active duty Marines and Sailors anywhere from two to three weeks to get into physical therapy appointments and sometimes longer depending on staffing.

"What the SMART concept brings is enough trained staff, ample space to rehabilitate the athletes, and right team members to basically get the athletes into therapy and sports medicine within a day or two from the injury," said Cmdr. Robert Towle, Physical Therapist and future director of SMART Center.

Another important fact is that the new SMART Center and its staff convey a different type of concept than its predecessor.

"We want to avoid referring to our customers as "patient" because they're not sick," said Towle. "We recognize that they're athletes and they need reconditioning/rehabilitation for these injuries as quickly as possible and with the SMART concept we intend on speeding up the rehabilitative care."

Although this is a new clinic with new concepts, all active duty athletes who suffer injuries still have to follow the procedure of being evaluated at their unit Battalion Aid Station or at the Branch Medical Clinic, Kaneohe Bay.

If the unit corpsman or primary care manager deems it necessary for the athlete to attend the SMART Center, a referral will be submitted. The latter is true for family members as well.  Appointments will be scheduled for family members, and retired patients.  All active duty members referred to the SMART Center will be able to be seen on a walk-in basis between the hours of 0730-0930 Monday - Friday, or !300-1400 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday.  Thursday afternoons are designated training afternoons.

Additionally, the new clinic is utilizing corpsman from both BMC and BAS throughout the base and training them in Sports Medicine. More specifically in the evaluation and treatment of the athletic injuries.

"This is the first time any SMART Center has cooperated in sharing with BMC and BAS," said Towle. "We want to make the BAS corpsman better at dealing with these injuries," said Towle. "Specially when out in the field. This will speed up the care for the injuries."

The MCB Hawaii BMC is moving in the direction of other Marine Corps installations around the globe to better serve the active duty warrior athlete said Towle.

The projected grand opening celebration of the clinic is March 31st.

The SMART Center opens its doors Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. except Thursday when it closes at 11:30 due to staff training.   

For further information on the new SMART clinic please call the BMC Physical Therapy at  (808) 257-8708.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii