Imaging Goes Courtside in New Sports Medicine Facility

Jan. 31, 2018

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The new Emory Sports Medicine Center looks at first glance like a sprawling retreat for the fleet-footed. Warm wood paneling accents the sleek mixed-metals façade while long, lean windows both texturize the exterior and allow views of the spacious interior.

Once inside, however, there’s no mistaking this is a state-of-the-art health center with a decidedly sports-fan design. What looked from outside like a workout room actually is a bustling physical therapy clinic and what first seemed like a reservations desk is centralized check-in for physical therapy, imaging, and sports medicine.

There’s also no mistaking the central role Emory Radiology pays: Imaging Services is etched on the front door and is well-integrated into the medical care area on the second floor. The space was designed for collaborative, patient-centered care. From the weekend warriors to the varsity players, athletes of all levels now can go where the pros go for diagnosis and treatment.

Imaging Services offers the latest in imaging technology, starting with two spacious x-ray suites. A Siemens Magnetom Skyra 3T MRI offers advanced 3-dimensional imaging of joints and the spine for precise diagnostics. A new Carestream Cone Beam CT, only the second in Georgia, offers pristine 3-D images of weight-bearing studies to pinpoint even the subtlest injuries or other defects impairing upper or lower extremity mobility. The CT features walk-in entry as well as low dose imaging so even significantly injured patients can benefit from this diagnostic technology without sacrificing dose safety.

While the Division of Musculoskeletal Imaging and most of its radiologists will remain based at the nearby Emory Orthopaedic and Spine Center in Executive Park, the new facility also features a reading room within the orthopaedic physicians’ work area. The goal is to have an MSK radiologist, fellow, and resident regularly onsite to collaborate with the orthopaedic physicians in diagnostic and treatment decision-making.

The facility is more than a sports medicine center. It’s also the official home for the Atlanta Hawks NBA basketball team. Nicknamed the Hawks Nest, the Hawks facility boasts the Emory Healthcare Courts, which really is two full-length basketball courts side-by-side, where the team practices. The courts directly connect to expanded athletic performance training areas, a film room, and a fully-dedicated recovery area which offers cryotherapy, sensory deprivation tanks, and in-ground hydrotherapy. The Hawks Basketball Operations Team also is housed in the facility.

Emory Radiology’s musculoskeletal team additionally will join the sports medicine team in providing diagnostic and treatment care in the facility for the Atlanta Dream WNBA team, the Atlanta Braves, and the Atlanta Falcons.

On a recent visit, that new-gym smell—a bewitching bouquet of wood varnish, rubber, and spicy deodorant—wafted through the air, and mixed with the bright lights and enticing racks of brand-new balls, made one itch for a pickup game. Alas, no game was to be had.

Security is tight on the Hawks side, so, while patients cannot access the Hawks’ facilities, they can watch the team practice, thanks to the many windows along the walls separating Emory Healthcare Courts and patient waiting rooms. The second-floor waiting area also features team memorabilia on the walls, and with its color palette of blues, greens, orange, and steel on cushy privacy-screened settees and chairs, feels like a VIP waiting area in a team’s locker room. TV monitors offer a choice of ESPN and HGTV.

The co-location with the Hawks allows Emory Radiology’s faculty unprecedented opportunities for collaborative, multidisciplinary research, too. Areas of inquiry include new applications of imaging technology to better predict, restore, and improve athletic performance at all levels.

Learn more about the Emory Sports Medicine Center at

For a Hawks-eye view, visit