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Arizona Athletics expands partnership with Banner – University Medicine to create enhanced model of care

Partnership expansion will feature comprehensive care program with focus on athletes

TUCSON, Ariz. (Sept. 7, 2022) – The University of Arizona is expanding its partnership with Banner – University Medicine through a new collaboration with Arizona Athletics to create an enhanced sports medicine care model. Banner – University Medicine is developing a comprehensive care program focused on healthy living, injury prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and expanding this model to meet the needs of the University of Arizona, Arizona student-athletes and athletes of all ages in Southern Arizona.

“I am very proud of the way Arizona Athletics prioritizes the health and academic success of our amazing student-athletes,” said university President Robert C. Robbins, who is a cardiothoracic surgeon. “Tapping into the university’s clinical partnership with Banner and the expertise of our health sciences faculty is a natural way to take this focus even further, and I am excited to see what comes of this model for sports medicine.”

This aligned mission creates programs of distinction in clinical care, research, and workforce training programs in key disciplines essential to sports medicine. Arizona Athletics is enhancing the breadth and quality of its care for its student-athletes in this innovative model by expanding access to surgical and emergency care, providing comprehensive physician coverage, and developing partnerships to support superior student-athlete medical care.

This new sports medicine care model reinforces Arizona Athletics longstanding Commitment to an Athletes’ Total Success (C.A.T.S) and is foundational to the “Wildcat Way” strategic plan which provides opportunities for student-athletes to become academic, athletic and life champions. Arizona Athletics will continue to expand and invest in this new model to ensure it remains as a nationally recognized leader in student-athlete healthcare.

“The University of Arizona Athletics Department is committed to continuing the highest level of medical support and care of its student-athletes,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke. “An evolving and expanding medical service and care model is a marquee component of our “Wildcat Way” mission and strategic initiatives. Key to our plan was the further development of our autonomous medical model that always prioritizes the health, safety, and wellbeing of our student-athletes. Through our new partnership with Banner – University Medicine, we have been able to ensure our world-class standard of care.”

Dr. Stephen Paul, who was recently appointed to the role of Senior Associate A.D. of C.A.T.S Health, Wellness and Performance, will oversee the day-to-day operations of this sports medicine model on behalf of Arizona Athletics, as well as oversight of the department’s strength and conditioning, clinic and sports psychology and nutrition units. Dr. Paul has spent three decades supporting Arizona Athletics’ sports medicine unit while also caring for students at Campus Health as a primary care sports fellowship trained physician. Most recently, Dr. Paul spearheaded the athletics department’s COVID-19 testing and treatment efforts.

Banner – University Medicine will also oversee the coordination of care for student-athletes from all 21 of Arizona’s athletic teams while providing certified athletic trainers to supplement Arizona Athletics’ sports medicine staff to help support injury prevention and overall wellness. The collaboration with Arizona’s athletics department and the University of Arizona will bring to life the vision of providing world class care for athletes in an academic medical setting.

Dr. Abigail Hamilton will serve as the new head Orthopedic Physician and strategic leader for this partnership on behalf of Banner – University Medicine. As a fellowship-trained Orthopedic Sports Medicine specialist, Dr. Hamilton has participated in the care of recreational, high school, collegiate, Olympic, and professional athletes.  She has been serving as an Orthopedic Consultant to the University of Arizona Athletics since joining the Banner – University Medical Group team and is committed to this growing partnership and elevating the care of Wildcat student athletes.  

“As the official sports medicine provider for Arizona Athletics, we are thrilled to announce this extension of our partnership with the University of Arizona.  We look forward to providing our expertise to our student- athletes not only in Orthopedic care but also in the broadest array of clinical excellence across multiple surgical and medical domains.  The staff of our facilities and our faculty stand ready to support ‘Wildcat Success’ in their individual performance journeys,” said Sarah Frost, CEO Banner – University Medicine Tucson and South.

About Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and South

Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South are part of Banner – University Medicine, a premier academic medical network. These institutions are academic medical centers for the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Included on the two campuses are Diamond Children's Medical Center and many specialty clinics. The two academic medical centers are part of Arizona-based Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit or


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