Helping Athletes Achieve Skip To Content

Filter by Category

Helping Athletes Achieve

Top level athletes train harder and a lot smarter.

On the practice field, in the weight room and on game day, having a good partner is necessary for success.

For more than 15 years, the University of South Dakota’s athletic programs have relied on Sanford Health to keep their athletes safe and competitive. As the Coyotes have grown into Division I competition, Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine has helped the athletic program rise to optimal performance.

“Sanford is synonymous with world-class care,” says David Sayler, University of South Dakota Athletic Director. “Everything that Sanford stands for with growth and innovation is a match for us and what we strive for.”

Team approach

The university depends on Sanford orthopedic surgeon R. Bradley Reeves, MD, Director of Sanford Sports Medicine, to direct athlete treatment. Dr. Reeves serves as team physician for USD athletics and is available to athletes from all of the university’s athletic programs in regular weekly clinics.

Dr. Reeves, who has more than 25 years of experience in sports medicine, works with university athletic trainers and a variety of physicians and sports medicine professionals to diagnose and treat any medical condition, from sprains to serious fractures. Athletes are also regularly referred to Sanford Health’s network of specialists for additional care when needed.

“It’s all part of protecting athletes during training, giving them that competitive edge and then making sure they’re safe before putting them on the field or court,” says Dr. Reeves. “Throughout their USD athletic career, they have uninterrupted access to medical care. These athletes know us, trust us and realize that we’re here to do everything we can to enhance their performance.”

Sayler agrees, commenting that this level of care and the network it comes with is one of the keys to the Coyotes’ success.

“Our athletes are more focused and driven and ready to compete and Sanford is a big part of that process,” says Sayler. “We celebrate this partnership and look forward to what is to come.”

Safety first

“Having access to this network of care is important for the safety of Coyote athletes,” adds Bruce Fischbach, head athletic trainer at USD. “Everything we do from the get-go is aimed at making sure we’re safe for athletes. We want to reduce injury and then make sure that the student athlete is safe to practice and to compete.”

When there is an injury, whether a player gets a concussion or needs an x-ray to check for serious damage to a knee or ankle, Sanford Health is there from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation. Armed with solid science and a dedication to the work of health and healing, Sanford medical professionals identify the best plan of care and work with coaches to determine when a player is ready to get back into the game without further injury.

“Having that backing from Sanford gives us confidence to know when we’ve rehabbed an injury enough,” explains Fischbach. “We use that science to decide when to get that guy or girl back in and know that we’ve made the right decision.” High-tech training

It’s similar science that enables elite athletes to maximize their practice and competitive play.

Sanford’s National Institute for Athletic Health and Performance serves as a trusted resource and recognized leader in conducting research, assessing athletes, providing the most current educational information, and developing guidelines and policy for safe and appropriate exercise, training, and sports participation.

“We take that nationally recognized academic research and get in the trenches to provide state-of-the-art technical care,” says Dr. Reeves. “We use that research to get great results and do great things.” On team photos hanging on his office wall, he even points out the players he’s operated on, allowing them to successfully return to their sport.


In addition to supporting student athletes, the Sanford School of Medicine provides an exceptional education for medical students, residents and CME for medical professionals. Expert faculty provides hands-on experience close to home.

Sanford Health’s support for the entire university in the past and in the future allows the school to grow and develop students with the highest levels of academic and athletic standards, says Sayler.

All in all, the partnership between Sanford Health and USD is one that benefits the health and safety of athletes, the field of sports medicine, and the communities in which we all live and play. Truly, a winning team.

Posted Date: June 2012