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Teaming up for bullying prevention

Children’s Mercy and Sporting Kansas City are stepping up to help address one of the most significant social issues impacting children and teens: bullying. The Children’s Mercy Community Needs Assessment in 2016 identified mental and behavioral health as one of the top three issues impacting KC area youth. Nationally, more than one out of five students will be bullied this year, with bullying in KC exceeding the national average. 

The primary purpose of the Red Card campaign is to build awareness and inspire people to “call it when they see it.”  We’ll use soccer’s red card as a visual reminder to highlight instances of bullying in schools and encourage positive behavior. We created a video using teens from area high schools to help demonstrate various bullying situations and build awareness to change outcomes.  

Go to for more information and to find out how you can help. You may also visit our frequently-asked questions page.

Sporting Kansas City and Children’s Mercy – A winning combination

In 2016, Children’s Mercy and Sporting Kansas City began a ground-breaking, long-term partnership with three primary goals:

  1. Improve access to pediatric-trained sports medicine

  2. Strengthen the community

  3. Protect youth athletes and educate parents and coaches

Children’s Mercy and Sporting KC are working every day to strengthen the community and impact the lives of children and their families. And, protecting young athletes and providing education for parents and coaches is an ongoing effort.

Our partnership has enabled us to extend the reach of sports medicine for student athletes to more areas of our community. The Village West facility, located in Kansas City, Kansas, includes a new sports medicine clinic and a 13,000-square-foot physical therapy gymnasium specifically for student athletes.

It is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a professional sports team, a national sports federation (U.S. Soccer) and a sports medicine provider focused on adolescent athletes.

Addressing an epidemic

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), participation in organized sports is on the rise. Nearly 30 million children and adolescents participate in youth sports in the United States. While this active lifestyle is great for children, it has also led to an increase in injuries among America's young athletes:

  • High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.

  • More than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year.

  • Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals. On average the rate and severity of injury increases with a child's age.

  • Although 62 percent of organized sports-related injuries occur during practice, one-third of parents do not have their children take the same safety precautions at practice that they would during a game.

  • Injuries associated with participation in sports and recreational activities account for 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children in the United States.

  • According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable.

Children’s Mercy has cared for the needs of Kansas City and beyond for more than 120 years. Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of children by providing comprehensive family-centered health care. The partnership with Sporting Kansas City offers us the opportunity to extend the highest level of care to the children and student athletes of our community. This is a unique partnership with a highly-committed professional sports organization and one which shares our passion for strengthening the community.

Improving access to pediatric-trained sports medicine

Children’s Mercy built a state-of-the art Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center in conjunction with Sporting Kansas City. The Village West facility, located in Kansas City, Kansas, includes a new sports medicine and physical therapy center specifically for student athletes. It is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a professional sports team, a national sports federation (U.S. Soccer) and a sports medicine provider specifically focused on adolescent athletes. The new facility complements our five locations in the metro and offers the area’s largest sports physical therapy gym and latest technology, including two therapy pools, a human performance and motion analysis lab, an anti-gravity treadmill, weight room and different areas allowing athletes to perform sports physical therapy that closely simulates their sport’s on-field environment.

Strengthening the community 

The partnership will builds on Sporting KC players’ commitment to engage with, encourage and inspire Children’s Mercy patients. The athletes visit patients and can be seen playing games and taking part in arts and crafts. Some of our patients are selected to participate in the coin toss before home games while others attend Sporting practices, meet the players and take in a Sporting KC home match from a luxury suite hosted by Sporting’s Victory Project. And when a child can’t make it to the game because of an extended hospital stay, we bring the game to their room via REX, a remote-experience robot. REX enables patients to experience Major League Soccer in a way that even kids physically attending the games aren’t able to do. Learn how REX gets children in the hospital a front-row view of Sporting KC action.

Protecting youth athletes and educate parents and coaches
The Sports Medicine Center at Children’s Mercy provides certified athletic trainers for Sporting Academy practices and games, as well as Sporting Club Network tournaments. Sideline coverage helps keep the young athletes safe while providing immediate attention to sports-related health needs. The trainers prepare Academy players before and treat them after practice. They also provide return-to-play guidance, injury prevention strategies, sports-related concussion evaluation and emergency action plans. 

“The education of athletes, coaches and parents has always been an extremely important topic for me. There is a great need for not only facilities, but also programming surrounding this community. Partnering with Children’s Mercy and working together to serve the youth in this capacity will no doubt decrease injuries in all sports.”

Peter Vermes, Manager of Sporting Kansas City