UChicago Medicine, WNBA Chicago Sky renew partnership agreement

Stefanie Dolson is a center for the WNBA Chicago Sky.
Stefanie Dolson is a center for the WNBA Chicago Sky.

The University of Chicago Medicine and the WNBA Chicago Sky have renewed their partnership in a multiyear agreement where the academic health system will continue to serve as the team’s official medical provider and a major sponsor. The partnership launched in early 2018, and the renewed contract will continue through the 2024 season.

As the team’s official medical provider, UChicago Medicine provides comprehensive player- and patient-centered services in orthopaedics, sports medicine, women’s health and primary care. The South Side-based academic health system also conducts preseason cardiac screenings for the team.

Two UChicago Medicine sports medicine physicians — orthopaedic surgeon Aravind Athiviraham, MD, and Christopher Hicks, MD — serve as the Chicago Sky’s team doctors. They are part of the medical center’s acclaimed orthopaedics department, which was ranked No. 32 nationwide in the most recent (2020) U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Hospitals rankings.

“As part of UChicago Medicine’s orthopaedic team, we are excited to continue our partnership with the Chicago Sky as the team’s official medical provider,” said Hicks. “Just as we use innovative approaches to help all patients with injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, we look forward to continuing to help the Sky’s elite athletes perform at their best levels.”

Led by Douglas R. Dirschl, MD, the Lowell T. Coggeshall Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and department chair, UChicago Medicine's orthopaedic team focuses on injury prevention as well as rehabilitative and comprehensive surgical care for sports-related conditions in teens and adults. The team specializes in complex surgeries, including multi-ligament knee reconstructions, proximal hamstring repairs, total shoulder replacements, and arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder, elbow, knee and hip.

Just as we use innovative approaches to help all patients with injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, we look forward to continuing to help the Sky’s elite athletes perform at their best levels.

The 2021 Chicago Sky roster includes Chicago-area native Candace Parker, who signed a two-year contract with the Sky after playing for 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks. The UChicago Medicine orthopaedic care team helped the All-Star and All-WNBA forward rehabilitate after an ankle injury caused her to miss several games. With Parker back in the starting lineup, the team has won their last seven games.

In recent years, Sky guards Diamond DeShields and Allie Quigley have shared their stories of how UChicago Medicine helped them address health concerns — DeShields with an eye condition called keratoconus and Quigley with a knee injury.

Following arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in late 2017, Quigley said: “Everyone at UChicago Medicine was awesome. My care team gave me the information I needed to feel confident going into surgery and during my rehab.”

Athiviraham, who performed Quigley's surgery, said: “Being a team physician for the Chicago Sky over the past four seasons has been a very rewarding experience and we are all excited about our continued partnership. We have an awesome team this year with excellent veteran player leadership and an outstanding coaching staff. We look forward to providing top-notch medical and orthopaedic care to our athletes to ensure their success on and off the court.”

Through the renewed agreement, UChicago Medicine will be a Presenting Sponsor for the Breast Health Awareness game on August 21 against the Minnesota Lynx. UChicago Medicine also will partner with the Sky on community engagement initiatives and serves as an official Sky Cares Legacy Partner, as well as an official partner with Beyond Basketball, the Sky’s platform on social justice.

The Sky’s 2021 regular season started on May 15 and wraps up on September 19, with home games hosted at Wintrust Arena in the South Loop. The arena has been operating at full capacity (10,387) as of the June 17 game, following relaxing of COVID-19 public-health guidelines.

Aravind Athiviraham

Aravind Athiviraham, MD

A specialist in orthopaedic sports medicine, Aravind Athiviraham, MD, cares for patients with athletic and overuse injuries, including anterior or posterior cruciate ligament tears, meniscus or cartilage injury, patellar or shoulder instability and elbow ulnar collateral ligament tears. He is skilled in minimally invasive and arthroscopic procedures of the knee, shoulder and elbow.

Learn more about Dr. Athiviraham
Christopher Hicks highlight 324x325

Christopher Hicks, MD

Christopher Hicks, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedist who specializes in non-operative sports medicine and provides comprehensive medical care for athletes and active patients alike.

Read more about Dr. Hicks