Little League Baseball is stepping up to the plate to take better care of players competing annually at the World Series.
Toward that end, officials dedicated the newly-built Player Wellness Center at the Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove in the Little League complex Wednesday.
The on-site medical clinic will address the expanding numbers of teams competing in the annual event, according to Little League President and CEO Stephen D. Keener.
Featuring two exam rooms and four patient rooms including an isolation medical area, the clinic represents a partnership between Little League and UPMC.
“No one saw COVID coming,” Keener said. “As disappointing as it was last year to cancel the Series, we wanted to do everything to make it happen this year.”
All teams, including coaches and managers, he said, will now have access to world class care.
The facility, which replaces the former infirmary, will provide access for personnel in the event of an emergency transport situation.
Keener said the new clinic is probably three times larger than the other site with state-of-the-art equipment.
He noted the changes in on-site medical care afforded to teams over the years.
He recalled the years when the late Dr. Robert Yasui, a Williamsport physician, and his wife, a nurse, took care of many of the health care needs during World Series time.
“We have certainly come a long way since then,” he said.
Now, World Series games go on each August at the Little League complex with physicians, emergency medical personnel, on-site nurses, and professional athletic trainers standing ready to provide care.
Steve Johnson, UPMC Susquehanna president, said medical students also provide health care services at the World Series.
“So it really has become a huge community initiative,” he said.
Johnson and Keener agreed the partnership between Little League and UPMC has been invaluable in improving overall care.
“We are thrilled to open this remarkable facility and look forward to the important care and expertise that the staff at UPMC will provide our World Series participants this August and during future Little League World Series,” Keener said.