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Mount Nittany Health partners with IRONMAN 70.3 Pennsylvania Happy Valley to provide medical support services

4 min read

Mount Nittany Health is proud to partner with the IRONMAN 70.3 Pennsylvania Happy Valley triathlon and provide medical support for the triathlon event on June 30th, 2024. Kevin Wilson, MD, Mount Nittany Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine will serve as Co-Medical Director for the event, along with Daniel McKinley, MD, MBA, Mount Nittany Health Emergency Medicine and Medical Director Quality and Patient Safety, Mount Nittany Medical Center

“Endurance events, like the IRONMAN 70.3 Pennsylvania Happy Valley event, require a great deal of preparation,” said Wilson. “These experienced endurance athletes have spent countless hours preparing for the event. Mount Nittany Health’s Sports Medicine Athletic Trainers are prepared to provide front-line care to these athletes throughout the day if they need medical assistance.”

This year’s event will take athletes on their race journey from a 1.2-mile swim in Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir at Bald Eagle State Park, a scenic 56-mile bike ride through the beautiful rolling hills of Centre and Clinton Counties, and a 13.1-mile run on the campus of Penn State, including a finish line experience inside Beaver Stadium.

During the event, Mount Nittany Health will deploy a multidisciplinary sports medicine approach to critical points along the race. Critical care, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and primary care providers from the Mount Nittany Health system will team up with nurses, EMTs, and athletic trainers to support the race and take care of injured athletes.

Kevin Wilson, MD, Mount Nittany Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine (Left) and Daniel McKinley, MD, MBA, Mount Nittany Health Emergency Medicine and Medical Director Quality and Patient Safety, Mount Nittany Medical Center (Right)

Mount Nittany Health’s athletic trainers will also host athletic training students and medical students from Penn State to give those students important exposure to endurance athlete injuries.

“The IRONMAN 70.3 Pennsylvania Happy Valley triathlon is a huge undertaking. Planning for this year began immediately following last year’s events,” said McKinley. “The Sports Medicine and Emergency Medical Services teams have worked directly with the IRONMAN organizers and local EMS to coordinate a comprehensive plan to care for athletes participating in the triathlon.  This will include medical capabilities during the swim portion of the event at Bald Eagle State Park, at the bike to run transition point as well as a main medical facility at Beaver Stadium.”

The event may inspire many in the area to try out endurance sports and races. There is a lot we can learn from the athletes, both professional and semi-professional, who have prepared to compete here in Happy Valley. If you are trying to learn more about training for endurance sports, here are some general recommendations from Dr. Wilson.

  • It all starts with having a structured training plan that gradually increases in intensity and duration over time. This allows your body to adapt to the rigors of the event while reducing the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Focus on building both cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength through a combination of long-distance training sessions and strength training exercises. This will help with your overall performance.
  • Try to simulate the conditions you will encounter during the event. Familiarize yourself with the terrain, train in similar temperatures, and plan out your nutrition. This will help reduce any surprises during race day.
  • It is always smart to work with a nutritionist so they can help provide you with a well-balanced nutrition plan to provide you with adequate energy during race day.
  • Allow your body ample time to rest and recover in your training schedules. Your body will need to repair itself during the stressors of your workout. Add rest days, sleep well, and listen to your body to avoid overtraining. Do not run through the pain.
  • Mental preparation is also important. Practice mental strategies like positive visualization, goal setting, and mindfulness to stay focused, and motivated throughout the event.

With a team of more than 220 providers spanning 30 medical specialties and operating across six counties, Mount Nittany Health is committed to offering exceptional care to our community. Our partnership with IRONMAN 70.3 Pennsylvania Happy Valley exemplifies our dedication to supporting Mount Nittany Health’s mission of “Healthier people, stronger community.” We extend our sincere gratitude to the physicians, nurses, trainers, and EMTs volunteering to ensure the safety and health of all individuals involved in this remarkable event, and we wish all of the athletes competing this year a safe and fulfilling race!