Bengals choose Kettering Health for new 10-year partnership

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) makes a catch against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

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Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) makes a catch against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Kettering Health as the team’s official health care partner for at least the next decade.

The partnership, which became official this morning, is aimed at both entities creating a larger platform together to raise health awareness and to allow each to reach more people.

“This is really exciting for our community, for our organization, for our teams,” said Tim Dutton, executive vice president of mission, brand and people for the Dayton-based health network. “This is (a) partnership ... that will develop health programs, initiatives that will help everyone in the greater Ohio area, I think aspirationally, live better lives.”

Terms of the 10-year partnership were not released.

The goal is that the partnership becomes a “transformative” one for the community, according to Dr. Thomas Graham, an orthopedic hand surgeon with decades of experience across the NFL and other professional sports who joined Kettering Health last year as its chief innovation officer.

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Kettering Health has become a “preeminent destination” for the care of the professional athlete over the last year, with about 100 of them coming to Dayton in that time to seek care within the health system, Dutton said. In addition, Kettering Health has established itself as a destination for care for people nationwide, Graham said

“Read the newspapers across the country and across the world the last couple of weeks,” he said. “I think everybody knows that we are in the game here and it just so happens that taking care of the active individual is very much at the very nucleus of what we do.”

Talks between the two organizations to form the partnership launched in January right before the Bengals’ headed to the playoffs and the Super Bowl, Dutton said.

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Tim Dutton

Tim Dutton, executive vice president of mission, brand and people for the Dayton-based health network.

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Tim Dutton

One of the areas that will see an immediate impact from the partnership is the NFL’s Crucial Catch “Intercept Cancer” program. The effort focuses on informing, educating and inspiring people to get the necessary cancer screenings that are vital to maintain health.

“We’ll actually be working with the Bengals and the NFL to promote cancer screenings year round,” Dutton said. “Cancer is a year-round issue, so it really needs year-round education. I think that’s one of the most exciting elements of this partnership, because it uses the platform that the NFL has to actually impact people’s lives locally.”

Under the partnership, Bengals’ rookies will visit a local school to participate at an NFL Youth Flag Football event designed to teach children how to play flag football.. Other cooperative initiatives to set the groundwork for a healthier future are planned.

As a health care provider, Kettering Health is “uniquely positioned” to provide those screenings through its comprehensive cancer programs, Dutton said.

Kettering Health will provide in-stadium care at five clinics located throughout Paul Brown Stadium during the upcoming Garth Brooks concerts, and the organizations are collaborating on additional medical coverage for events at the stadium, Dutton said.

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Dayton has been a longtime and critical part of the Bengals’ fanbase, according to Elizabeth Blackburn, the franchise’s director of strategy and engagement. The Bengals partnership with Kettering Health unlocks a new level of engagement in the Dayton community.

Blackburn said one of the things that brought the two organizations together was how similar they are when it comes to goal for the community.

“The brand alignment in our core values, specifically Kettering Health’s passion for innovation and excellence, is something that aligns perfectly with what we here at the Bengals are all about” she said. “We felt like they have great people and a very impressive leadership team. We think that this partnership has a ton of potential and we’re very excited to get that going.”

Partnerships between sports organizations and health care systems are something that is “pretty well established paradigms,” Graham said.

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Dr. Thomas Graham, an orthopedic hand surgeon with decades of experience across the NFL and other professional sports who joined Kettering Health last year as its chief innovation officer.

Dr. Thomas Graham, an orthopedic hand surgeon with decades of experience across the NFL and other professional sports who joined Kettering Health last year as its chief innovation officer.

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Dr. Thomas Graham, an orthopedic hand surgeon with decades of experience across the NFL and other professional sports who joined Kettering Health last year as its chief innovation officer.

“They seek true partnership, true alignment philosophically,” Graham said. “You’re looking for supplementary and complimentary ways to celebrate what each individual organization respectively can accomplish, but multiply that by what they can collectively accomplish.”

Both have people working together to inspire people to live healthier lifestyles, he said.

“The synergy that can be generated when two championship organizations come together, that’s what makes this incredibly exciting, not only for our organization, not only just for the Bengals, but the entire citizenry of Southwest Ohio,” Graham said.

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