Freeman News

Freeman Partners with Pitt State Athletic Program

April 22, 2014

Freeman Health System joins forces with Pittsburg State University (PSU) to become the university's official sports medicine and rehabilitation partner.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Freeman Health System joins forces with Pittsburg State University (PSU) to become the university's official sports medicine and rehabilitation partner. Dr. Michael Zafuta, PSU graduate and orthopaedic physician at Freeman Surgical Center of Pittsburg, is joining the team of Freeman physicians and will serve as medical director for the university’s sports medicine program.

“We’re very proud of our Freeman sports medicine program’s unparalleled level of comprehensive care to area athletes. I’m thrilled that we’re deepening our relationship with the people of Southeast Kansas through our partnership with PSU athletics and the addition of Dr. Zafuta to our excellent team of Freeman physicians,” said Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula F. Baker.

“We’re excited to have Freeman Health System as our new official partner for sports medicine. Freeman offers us access to some of the very best sports medicine care in the region, and Dr. Zafuta is already well known within our athletic programs for his skill and professionalism. This partnership will benefit our university and ensure that our student athletes receive the very best care,” said Pittsburg State University President Steven A. Scott.

Dr. Zafuta graduated magna cum laude from PSU in 1990. He attended Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where he graduated with honors in 1994. He then attended the orthopedic surgery residency program at The University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. He furthered his training with a fellowship specializing in sports medicine at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado, where he assisted the team physicians for the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, and the US Ski Team.

“I’m honored to be involved in this partnership between Freeman and PSU. As a proud alumnus of Pitt State, and having enjoyed a wonderful medical practice here in Southeast Kansas, I look forward to helping keep PSU athletes strong, healthy and competitive,” said Dr. Zafuta.

Providing world-class care to athletes throughout the region, Freeman Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine physicians and Freeman athletic trainers continue to expand the number of athletes they serve. The group serves as the sports medicine provider for more than 20 schools and universities in the region, including Missouri Southern State University, Pittsburg State University, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Joplin R-8, Webb City R-7, and Neosho R-5. The team provides athletic injury assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and follow-up evaluations. Freeman Rehabilitation and Sports Center, located at 2206 East 32nd Street, features innovative treatment unique to the area, including a sports performance center, basketball performance court, balance testing and treatment, safe driving evaluations, sports concussion testing and a cutting-edge aquatic program.

Freeman Health System – Celebrating 90 Years of Service
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2014, Freeman earned 90 individual awards for medical excellence and safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report ranked Freeman #1 Hospital in Southwest Missouri in 2014-15, and The Leapfrog Group gave Freeman the highest grade possible in the Fall 2014 Hospital Safety Score. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 60 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart and vascular care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit or or follow Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker at #FreemanTurns90