Sports has become ingrained in the identity of Frisco. Frisco is home to several professional and semiprofessional sports teams, is the future location of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and has become the host city for numerous collegiate championship and bowl games.
But sports in Frisco is not just about entertainment and tourism; sports is also about innovation, former Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said. In Frisco, that innovation has come in the form of sports medicine research.
Sports medicine is not new to Frisco, with facilities such as Texas Sports Medicine and Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine calling the city their home for a number of years. But two facilities will add to the presence of sports medicine in the city as well as support Frisco ISD and professional athletes.
Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy and Research at The Star is a 300,000-square-foot facility under construction at The Star in Frisco. When it opens in early 2018, the facility will focus on injury prevention, research and wellness for both professional and amateur athletes.
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is building its 345,000-square-foot North Campus at the northeast corner of Lebanon Road and the Dallas North Tollway. The campus is expected to open in fall 2018 as an ambulatory care center anchored by the Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine.
These facilities “are another piece of the puzzle—an important piece,” said Maso, who is also the former vice chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Sports Alliance. “I think those alone will further the brand of being a research and innovation center for sports.”
Partnership to expand research
Baylor Scott & White, which is the largest nonprofit health care system in Texas, partnered with the Dallas Cowboys and FISD to bring the research facility to The Star.
Through the partnership, Cowboys players and FISD athletes will be able to access some of the staff and equipment at the facility. This includes access to the imaging center and having a concussion specialist on the sidelines of every FISD game at The Ford Center at The Star.
The health care system is also in talks with other sports teams in Frisco about working with players at the facility, said LaVone Arthur, chief integration officer for Baylor Scott & White.
Sports medicine research will be a major focus of the facility and somewhat new territory for the health care system, Arthur said.
“We have a long history of research around what I would consider issues that could be related to sports medicine,” she said. “What we’ve really determined is that by pulling together the different components and the different collaborators that are involved at The Star, we really have an opportunity to take this facility that we’re designing and create a research collaborative that’s focused on sports injury prevention.”
The facility will include a Gatorade Sports Science Institute, which studies the effects of nutrition on the human body before, during and after exercise.
The facility will also incorporate Fusionetics technology into its Sports Performance Program. Fusionetics uses technology to help athletes—both professional and amateur—decrease injuries, optimize performance and enhance their recovery.
“That process is new to the market, and it is one that we feel can really have an impact on how athletes train ... and prevent the likelihood of injury,” Arthur said.
Research at the Baylor Scott & White facility will also include concussion prevention and a Brain Injury Program as part of the outpatient rehabilitation services.
Focus on youth
For nearly 100 years, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children has been treating orthopedic issues in children at its Dallas campus. Next year, the hospital will open its first permanent satellite campus in Frisco.
Anchored by a Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine, the North Campus will offer many of the same services as the Dallas campus but have a heavy focus on research. Whereas other sports medicine facilities may study only adults or adults and children, Scottish Rite’s research is focused solely on children.
“Pediatric sports is an ever-growing market,” said Henry Ellis, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Scottish Rite. “As a whole, it is really skyrocketing at an exponential rate. Not only are kids playing at a more competitive level more frequently on more teams throughout the year, we’re finding that that’s actually correlating with an increase in injuries as well.”
Concussion research will be one of the major areas of study at the North Campus, Ellis said. Using the research Scottish Rite has already done on the subject, researchers will be looking into how to manage and prevent concussions as well as how to reduce the amount of time a child is pulled out of a sport because of a concussion.
The North Campus will include a movement science center, physical and occupational therapy and outdoor playing fields and walking trails.
The movement science center will be like the one at the Dallas campus. The lab evaluates a patient’s walking and movement patterns using 3-D motion capture technology.
“We cannot only look at the way a child can walk after surgery, but up at the North Campus we’ll focus a little bit more on his running pattern, his ability to pivot and jump or shoot a hoop or throw a baseball after these treatments,” Ellis said.
Both Baylor Scott & White and Scottish Rite are looking to recruit highly skilled and educated individuals to work at their respective facilities in Frisco.
Much of the staff at Baylor Scott & White’s facility will be clinical, but the campus will need employees with experience in technology and software to help keep equipment running, Arthur said.
Scottish Rite will look for much of the same, though the hospital will also seek individuals who have a heart for working with children, Ellis said.
Both Arthur and Ellis said their facilities will recruit locally and nationally.
Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said the city has a large talent pool to choose from. According to the city, nearly 60 percent of Frisco’s population has attained at least a bachelor’s degree.
“Our citizen base here is highly educated,” Cheney said. “These will be opportunities for many of our residents. But also I do expect that opportunities to work in both of those facilities will likely bring some relocations to Frisco.”
A labor market study published in 2014 shows that Frisco has a high concentration of IT workers living in the city.
Jim Gandy, president of the Frisco Economic Development Corp., said these employees’ skills can translate well into the jobs needed to support sports medicine research.
“The availability of a skilled workforce, which includes IT professionals, is going to be important to every project that we work on,” Gandy said. “These two projects are no different. All these positions will be highly skilled professionals that revolve around health care, finance, insurance, information and technologies that will be needed by the Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy and Research center as well as the Scottish Rite Hospital North Campus.”