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Oxford School District looking to hire team doctor

There could be a changing of the guard when it comes to medical care for Oxford athletes.

The Oxford School Board of Trustees listened to proposals from two medical groups during a special meeting held on Tuesday. Oxford Orthopedics and University Sports Medicine presented their cases to be the exclusive doctors to all Oxford schools’ athletic teams.

University Sports Medicine and Dr. Ed Field have been assisting in treating athletes but the school district does not have a contract with any medical group. Tuesday was the first step in deciding which group the school board will offer a contract.

“Before we do that we felt that it was in fairness to everybody involved to hear the things that we’re looking for,” Oxford School Superintendent Brian Harvey said after the meeting. “What will you provide? Can you provide these things and what else can you provide? Because in the end we’re looking out for what’s best for our athletes. I think this is the process that provides the most fairness to everybody.”

Each group was allotted 30 minutes for their presentation, followed by 15 minutes for the board to ask a pre-determined set of questions.

The group of Dr. Kurre Luber, Dr. Cooper Terry and Dr. Daniel Boyd represented Oxford Orthopedics.

Luber and his group noted their relationship with Ole Miss Athletics and the level of care they provide the Rebel athletes. Oxford Orthopedics also work with Lafayette, Grenada, Senatobia and South Panola along with other private schools in the area.

“We’ve treated numerous athletes from the school district and worked closely with the trainers here,” Luber said during the presentation. “Just because we haven’t been allowed to stand on the sidelines doesn’t mean we’re not talking to, communicating with the trainers for most of the 10 years that we’ve been here. We’ve been doing it anyway but there just hasn’t been that continuity that I would like.”

Field has been helping treat Oxford athletes since he was brought in by former Oxford football coach Johnny Hill in 1992.

During his presentation Fields noted how he already has a working relationship with Oxford athletic trainer Justin Ware.

“I’m specially trained in athletics and there’s something about this whole sports medicine gig that drives me there,” Field said during his presentation. “It’s such great fun to follow kids along, whether it’s surgical or non-surgical, and get them back on the field.”

One of the key topics of concern by the school board was the issue of concussion treatment each group would provide student-athletes.

Oxford Orthopedics is establishing a partnership with the University to create a ‘Center of Excellence for Concussions.’ The center is still in the development stage and will be located in the old North Mississippi Baptist Hospital location and is planned to be opened in December.

“We will have IMPACT testing for the kids, but we don’t know the ins and outs of it yet,” Luber said. “Regardless, until then we’re going to take care of them with the standard care of concussions.”

The school board did not make a decision after both groups presentations but planned to make one by their regular monthly board meeting on June 25.

The board also asked each group if they would be open to the idea of possibly working together to provide medical care.