Later this week, teams from across the country will converge on Indiana for what is commonly known as March Madness — the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Joining them will be a team of practitioners from Henry Community Health.

Led by Tony Cox, director of Performance Enhancement and Athletic Training Services, Drs. Scott TaylorDamion Harris and Kyle Siewert, and Athletic Trainers Kelley Lacey, Kyleigh Johnson and Jared Coats will take the floor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for practices and games scheduled to be played in the tournament’s first and second rounds and the Sweet 16.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the NCAA announced in January the unprecedented move of conducting the entire tournament in Indiana. In addition to BLF, games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

Before joining HCH, Cox served as the head athletic trainer for Ball State University, which joined Indiana University, Purdue University, Butler University, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis and the Horizon League in being named a host school for 2021.

“When BSU was named a host school, Neal Hazen, their head athletic trainer, called and asked me if I would be willing to take the lead on pulling staffing together and I jumped at the opportunity. I worked at BSU for 23 years and served as the athletic trainer for men’s basketball. After I joined the staff at HCH, I had the opportunity to continue to do work with them and the NCAA, and have since worked two final fours and two regional tournaments.”

Working in conjunction with practitioners from Central Indiana Orthopedics, who serve as team physicians at BSU, Cox’s assembled team from Henry Community Health will work side-by-side with participating team physicians, trainers and EMS workers providing assistance in the event of emergencies or trauma incidents.

“While every team travels with their own trainers and a team physician, we’ll be on hand to provide assistance if an X-ray or orthopedic evaluation is needed or if there is an issue related to COVID-19,” said Cox. “In past tournaments, we’ve met each morning with EMS staff to go over emergency policies and procedures so there’s no chance of failure; we basically go through a dry run of possible scenarios we may encounter.”

“When it comes to athletic events, it doesn’t get much bigger in terms of a nationally recognized and respected event than the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament,” said Siewert. “People look forward to this tournament every year; March Madness is something almost everyone talks about. So having some of us fortunate enough to be a small part of it is really cool.

“All of us with HCH are fortunate enough to have been ready and available to help,” Siewert added. “I think I speak for all of us when I say we’re thankful for the opportunity to contribute and help anyway we can.”

“I think it’s fair to say that everyone–my athletic trainers and our docs–are excited to be participating,” Cox said. “Everybody was immediately on board. My athletic training team covers 10 high schools in the region and this will be a great experience for them that will bring their skills to the next level.”