Newsroom The Ozarks Lunkers partner with CoxHealth for inaugural season Posted on Oct. 20, 2023 The Ozarks Lunkers, the formidable, local newcomers on The Arena League football scene, have joined forces with CoxHealth, the region’s largest employer and health care provider, as they gear up for their highly anticipated inaugural season.The strategic partnership between The Ozarks Lunkers and CoxHealth’s Sports Medicine team signifies a new era of collaboration between local sports and health care."We're excited to have CoxHealth on board as integral partners in this exciting venture," says Caleb Scott, general manager of The Ozarks Lunkers. "Their commitment to excellence and player welfare aligns seamlessly with our vision for the team."CoxHealth will play a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of Lunkers players by providing top-tier health care services and state-of-the-art facilities. This groundbreaking partnership reflects both organizations' commitment to excellence, both on and off the field.“This partnership is a special opportunity for our team and CoxHealth overall,” says Dr. Shannon Woods, co-director of the Sports Medicine Department at CoxHealth. “We’re looking forward to being a part of the excitement and energy The Ozarks Lunkers will bring to our community.”The Sports Medicine team, co-led by Dr. Shannon Woods and Dr. Heath Melugin, has experienced physicians that have served this region for many years. With decades of combined experience across the team, CoxHealth’s Sports Medicine providers are ready to support The Ozarks Lunkers and its players.“As someone who grew up in Springfield and has first-hand experience with how well this community supports its sports, I’m thrilled CoxHealth is a part of this new chapter with The Ozarks Lunkers,” says Dr. Melugin, co-director of the Sports Medicine Clinic at CoxHealth. “Our team is ready to serve these players and our broader community through providing top-tier sports medicine care.”Both Drs. Woods and Melugin have roots in the Ozarks and notable experiences as sports medicine physicians. Dr. Woods has previously worked with the team physicians of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Olympics. He also has more than 10 years of experience as one of the team doctors for the Drury Panthers and Evangel Valor, as well as a decade of providing care for local Olympians and professional athletes.Dr. Melugin's accolades are also numerous, having graduated at the top of his class from medical school. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Mayo Clinic and went on to complete a fellowship in sports medicine surgery at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Co. He has cared for numerous professional and Olympic athletes and is a current team physician for the United States Ski and Snowboard Team.The Ozarks Lunkers' 2024 inaugural season is eagerly anticipated, and this partnership with CoxHealth ensures that the team's journey will be backed by exceptional health care expertise.