WKU and WKONA Form Partnership, Edwards Named Associate Athletic Director

By: Todd Stewart, WKU Athletic Media Relations
By: Todd Stewart, WKU Athletic Media Relations

The Western Kentucky University Athletics Department and Western Kentucky Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates (WKONA) today jointly announced a formal partnership between the pair.

WKONA, previously referred to as WKOA, has proudly provided high quality care for Western Kentucky University athletics for over 30 years. The formal partnership will enable WKONA's Dr. Craig Beard, Dr. John Burch and Dr. David Richards to continue to provide outstanding medical care to WKU student-athletes. The trio and WKU's other team physicians will work in conjunction with Bill Edwards, WKU's veteran Head Athletic Trainer who will now work under the title of Associate Athletic Director/Director of Athletic Training and Sports Medicine.

"This agreement formalizes an already formidable partnership between WKU's sports medicine professionals and a tremendous team of physicians at WKONA," said WKU Director of Athletics Dr. Camden Wood Selig. "I have long had the utmost respect for the wisdom, guidance and care that Bill Edwards and his staff provide our student-athletes, and merging all of their tremendous attributes with the expertise of WKONA is truly a winning combination that benefits everyone."

"This centralized organization of medical care for WKU student-athletes will enable the current high level of care to continue while also improving cost containment," Beard said. "It will also result in improved coordination with WKU's athletic training staff. This partnership ensures the highest level of sports medicine in the region will continue to be provided well into the future."

"I am extremely pleased that this group of outstanding orthopaedic physicians will continue to provide coverage for our student-athletes," Edwards said. "WKU's student-athletes have been able to access fabulous medical care for many years, and this partnership ensures that their medical needs will continue to be met by the most qualified individuals in our profession."

Edwards, who holds both bachelor's ('74) and master's ('76) degrees from WKU, also teaches in the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport. An active member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, he coordinates the sports medicine program for all WKU sports. Edwards has been a part of the athletic scene at his alma mater since 1970 and was named the Hilltopper head trainer in 1983 after spending six years as an assistant. He had previously worked as a student trainer and then as a graduate assistant.

WKONA's Drs. Beard, Burch and Richard all currently serve as team physicians for WKU Athletics.

Dr. Beard received his medical degree, orthopaedic residency training and his internship at the University of Kentucky and is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and by the National Board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Beard is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and has been practicing general orthopaedics in Bowling Green, Kentucky since 1987 with special interest in joint replacement and revisions.

Dr. Burch received his medical degree, internship and orthopaedic residency training at the University of Kentucky and training at the Kleinert Hand Institute in Louisville. Dr. Burch is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and by the National Board of Medical Examiners. He has practiced in Bowling Green, Kentucky since 1991. Dr. Burch practices general Orthopaedics, with special interest in joint reconstruction, total joint replacement and sports medicine, and has received additional training in computer-assisted surgery and sports injuries.

Dr. Richards received his medical degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas. He completed his internship in general surgery and his orthopaedic residency training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Richards then completed a Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Fellowship at the Lipscomb Clinic at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to coming to Bowling Green, Dr. Richards practiced in Lexington, Kentucky for 6 years. He has been practicing sports medicine, arthroscopy, joint replacement and general orthopaedics in Bowling Green since 1999.


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