updated 5/11/2011 8:17:08 AM ET 2011-05-11T12:17:08

HOUSTON, May 11, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Memorial Hermann and World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) today announced a unique collaboration for the benefit of athletes of all ages and abilities with the establishment of the Ironman Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann. The two organizations first came together last year with the introduction of the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston. On May 21 in The Woodlands, they will present the state's first ultra-distance Ironman event, Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas.  

"Memorial Hermann is the leading authority on sports medicine and is an ideal partner for WTC because of its ability to provide top-notch clinical care, customized treatment plans and revolutionary performance testing and improvement services for athletes in all sports who aspire to compete at their highest level," said Ben Fertic, president and CEO of WTC.

Memorial Hermann CEO Dan Wolterman commented on the natural synergy of the two organizations: "Memorial Hermann and WTC share a common goal to provide athletes with the tools they need to realize their dreams. The sports medicine institute is already well known for its clinical programs. This new partnership will separate us from our competitors in the area of sports performance, because of the science-based services we will provide."

"Our clinical expertise coupled with their extensive knowledge of endurance training and recovery will enhance our ability to not only help injured athletes in sports like track and field, basketball and football return to their sport faster, but also help strong athletes become even stronger," said Walt Lowe, M.D., medical director of Ironman Sports Medicine Institute and Chairman of the department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UTHealth.

The new Ironman Sports Medicine Institute collaboration will enable Memorial Hermann to expand its current offerings to include cross-sport research to improve athletic performance and recovery and reduce injuries. New research protocols will examine endurance athletes to determine how their preparation and training regimens can benefit athletes in all sports, including football, soccer and baseball. For example, the Institute might examine:

  • Techniques that will better help junior and high school athletes to hydrate during August football two-a-days in southeast Texas
  • How endurance athlete core strength training can reduce injuries in cheerleaders/gymnasts
  • Recovery strategies that can help pitchers recuperate faster and reduce youth arm injuries
  • How endurance athlete cross-training can improve the strength of soccer players' legs to reduce ACL tears

Newly bundled services will also be added to the current roster of performance testing and improvement services. The triathlete performance improvement evaluation packages that apply techniques to help beginner to advanced triathletes train more effectively are among the Institute's newest offerings.   

"WTC has a history of aligning with worldwide 'best-in-class' organizations like Ford, Timex, PowerBar and K-Swiss," said Craig Funk, COO of Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. "We are honored to partner with WTC and Ironman, the No. 1 user-based sports brand in the world."    

The announcement of the partnership coincides with the inaugural Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas, one of nearly 30 Ironman events worldwide, which will take place in The Woodlands on May 21, 2011. The swim will be in Lake Woodlands and the bike course will lead participants through the scenic, rolling farmland of east Texas, finishing with a run entirely within The Woodlands.  Offering a professional prize purse of $100,000, the race also will award a total of 65 age group slots for the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i, on Oct. 8.

For more information on Ironman Sports Medicine Institute, visit www.memorialhermann.org or call 713.222.CARE (2273). 

About Memorial Hermann

An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann is known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. The system, with its exceptional medical staff and more than 20,000 employees, serves southeast Texas and the greater Houston community. Memorial Hermann's 11 hospitals include three hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, including a level 1 trauma center, a hospital for children and a rehabilitation hospital, as well as three heart & vascular institute locations and eight suburban hospitals. The system also operates an air ambulance, cancer, imaging and surgery centers, sports medicine and rehabilitation centers, outpatient laboratories, a Wellness Center, a chemical dependency treatment center, a home health agency, a retirement community and a nursing home. To learn more, visit www.memorialhermann.org, or call 713.222.CARE.

The Memorial Hermann and World Triathlon Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=9667

About World Triathlon Corporation

World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) is a Tampa-based company recognized for athletic excellence, distinguished events and quality products. WTC's portfolio includes Ironman, Ironman 70.3, 5150 Triathlon Series, Iron Girl and IronKids brands, which have a combined total of more than 180 events worldwide each year. Supported by partners including Ford, Timex, Foster Grant and PowerBar, Ironman is the No.1 user-based sports brand in the world and has been a respected name in triathlon since its inception in 1978.

CONTACT: Media Contacts:
         James Campbell
         713.242.4787
         James.Campbell@memorialhermann.org
         
         Lindsey Klingensmith
         713.242.4781
         Lindsey.Klingensmith@memorialhermann.org

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