Power of partnership: Phoenix Athletics, Prevea make a winning team

top-story-partnershipJeremy Cleven (pictured) head athletics trainer for the Phoenix, is far from alone in his work despite being the only sports medicine professional formally employed by UW-Green Bay.

Take, for example, his colleague Callie Bartel, who has long been steeped in the culture and camaraderie of Phoenix Athletics at UW-Green Bay.

She’s an alumna who ran cross country with the Phoenix before graduating with a degree in Human Biology in 2009. Each day, she reports to her on-campus office and then sets about her day as an athletic trainer, working with student-athletes who want to stay at — or return to — the top of their game.

But Bartel isn’t a University employee. Rather, she’s part of an innovative partnership with Prevea Sports Medicine, a program that provides athletic trainers who are contracted out to UW-Green Bay.

“I knew I wanted to work at the college level right away,” Bartel said. “I wanted those athletes — they were there for a reason, and if they got hurt, they were going to do whatever it takes to get better.”

The partnership allows Bartel and her fellow athletic trainers — Prevea provides two others, plus two strength coaches — to work full-time with Cleven, who is employed by UW-Green Bay. It also provides Phoenix athletes with quick access to Prevea physicians as they need it, offering another big-time benefit for Division I athletes who just want to play — and play healthy.

“The community relationships are something that have really been important to them, and they have a passion for sports medicine,” Cleven said. “It’s kind of in their blood to take care of the local college athletes.”

Prevea is pleased to partner with a great University and the only Division I school in Northeastern Wisconsin, said Michael LaMere, Prevea’s Sports Medicine Outreach Supervisor. Its athletic trainers attend continuing education courses year-round to stay abreast of current trends, and the athletic training team meets frequently to review emergency and rehabilitation protocols to make sure athletes receive the highest level of care possible.

“The athletic trainers are the first line of defense of making sure the athlete is taken care of in a safe and timely manner,” LaMere said. “From a minor injury to a life-threatening injury, the athletic trainers are equipped to manage every situation that is thrown their way. With an athletic trainer on the sidelines, it helps give the student-athletes and coaches the peace of mind that they have someone right there with knowledge and skill to take care of injuries that may happen.”

UW-Green Bay’s longstanding relationship with Prevea is reflected not only on the sidelines of games and practices, but also in the very name of its training room — the Hinckley Sports Medicine Center on the lower level of the Kress Events Center on campus. The room is named after Prevea orthopedic surgeon, longtime team physician and UW-Green Bay philanthropist Dr. James Hinckley, who with his late wife Patricia received UW-Green Bay’s highest community honor, the Chancellor’s Award, in 2012.

The partnership also played a significant role in Bartel’s transition from student-athlete to athletic trainer. While a Phoenix cross country runner, Bartel established relationships with Cleven and then-UW-Green Bay athletic trainer Emily (Meeuwsen) Johnson, daughter of current UW-Green Bay Trustee Kate Meeuwsen ’76. The pair mentored Bartel and helped her land an internship with Prevea and UW-Green Bay between her first and second year of graduate school. It’s yet another example of how a longstanding partnership has paid off — for everyone involved.

“Callie’s experience has really brought a unique outlook to our sports medicine staff,” LaMere said. “Being a UWGB athlete, she came into the position with more knowledge of the University, the Athletic Department and Prevea than most would. Knowing the ins and outs really helped her hit the ground running quickly.

“Callie has always known she wanted to work with athletes, and it is great that she can continue what she started at UWGB.”