Hybl Center provides real-world experience in fitness and medicine

     Nestled on the corner of N. Nevada and Clyde’s Way is the William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center, a product of the partnership between Centura-Penrose St. Francis and UCCS. 

     This $70 million state-of-the-art sports performance facility is home to multiple UCCS degree programs, a fully operational medical imaging center and a publicly available sports performance complex. 

     Steve Johnson, co-director of the Hybl Center, said what makes the center unique is the collaborative aspect of the partnership. “The Hybl Center is the only facility of its kind capable of fully integrating undergraduate and graduate education with clinical practice, sports medicine, and sports performance in a collaborative, interprofessional environment,” Johnson wrote via email. 

     Designers constructed the educational space with furnished “collision areas,” which encourage interactions between doctors, researchers and students. 

     The Hybl Center houses seven undergraduate and graduate degree programs focused on health science and nutrition. In addition, Johnson said the building houses 15 instructional spaces, with nine of them being instructional labs that “combine didactic and experiential all in the same room.” 

     Labs are outfitted specifically for each UCCS program that works out of them. The labs include a full kitchen used in the Master of Sports Nutrition program and an environmental chamber that can adjust the altitude, temperature and humidity to mimic different atmospheres. 

     The Hybl Center also has biomechanics, athletic training, body composition, anatomy and exercise physiology labs with state-of-the-art research and educational equipment. 

William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center located on the north side of UCCS Campus. Photo by Lillian Davis.  

     Johnson said on their busiest days, about 800 students use the building, but the center can hold up to 1,100 students. He said this means they have “room to grow” and that he is excited to see what future programs the facility may hold. 

     The other half of the Hybl center is the Centura space. This proximity allows collaboration between the Centura staff and UCCS students. “We have a shared system with Centura so we can use it for research and education, as well as the retail component. But anything in here can be accessed by anybody,” Johnson said.   

     A retail area also includes the performance, imaging and sports medicine clinics. Johnson said those who use the sports clinic will first get evaluated by one of the physicians, have a treatment plan set in place and then conduct the therapy in the performance center.   

     The performance center includes an indoor track, batting cage, golf swing analysis, free weight gym and multiple specially designed treadmills used for various therapies and performance analysis. One treadmill in the facility holds a device designed by UCCS engineering students, allowing those with adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs, to safely use the machine. 

     Equipment inside the center is rigged with special sensors, cameras and pressure plates that can identify issues the athlete is having and help determine the best treatment or improvement plan for their specific problem. 

     Olympians, the Colorado Springs fire department, SWAT team, local high schools and high-level sports teams have also made use of the performance center.