Starfires partnering with Baystate to help keep players ready for the field

The Westfield Starfires are teaming up with Baystate Medical Center to ensure that their talented roster of players are ready (Sponsored by Westfield Starfires)
Published: Jun. 21, 2023 at 10:53 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2023 at 1:00 PM EDT
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WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Westfield Starfires are teaming up with Baystate Medical Center to ensure that their talented roster of players are ready to play their best baseball this summer.

It’s a summer full of fun for fans cheering on the Starfires at Bullens Field. For the players, it’s a chance to work on their skills before returning to school in the fall.

“Trying to be a presence behind the plate, trying to be a leader on the team because that’s what I’m hoping to come into a program like Rutgers and do,” said Starfires catcher JD Jones.

This is the fifth season that the team has partnered with the experienced sports medicine team at Baystate Medical Center.

“Just making sure they’re staying healthy. I mean, if you’re not healthy, you’re not on the field,” said Dr. Zachary Schepart with the Sports and Exercise Medicine Department at Baystate Medical Center.

After putting their bodies through 40 to 60 games in the spring at college, the team will compete in another 64-game schedule this summer. Schepart told Western Mass News that he stresses the importance of flexibility and core strength to keep players performing their best.

“I think we tend to see a lot of issues with flexibility, especially in those athletes that may not have the most access to strength and conditioning, nutrition, and everything else like that,” Schepart added.

Some of these athletes compete at the top college programs with the top facilities in the country, like the University of Miami.

“We had our own trainer with our own treatment room with everything that we would need if we were injured…They also built, I think two years ago, a nutrition center at the baseball field that they would stock every week,” Jones added.

“[The] difference between D-I, D-II, D-III is going to be really significant when it comes to ability of strength and conditioning, coaches, nutrition, resources, and adequate access to the dining halls,” Schepart explained.

Schepart and his team listen to each player to learn more about their playing careers and injury history.

“A few of them had mentioned some elbow injuries in the past. They had rehab without surgery, which is the ultimate goal, but what they had to do off the field in terms of time off, in terms of their ramp-up programs,” Schepart noted.

Off the field, there’s advice that every athlete can take advantage of, especially in the dog days of summer.

“You want to make sure you’re getting your good eight, if not nine, hours of sleep every night…Focusing on food intake as well, especially in the hot sun that you may not get in some of these northern kind of towns and cities during the regular collegiate baseball season,” Schepart said.

(Segment sponsored by Westfield Starfires)