The debut of the Golden 1 Center, home to the Sacramento Kings, ignited a catalyst of rebirth for the downtown area!  Embedded within the arena is a state-of-the-art Kaiser Sports Medicine Center exclusive to our Sacramento Region.  The non-descript Kaiser Permanente entrance at 209 L Street belies its impressive role and reach for the community.

Junior Achievement (JA) President and board members along with JA fans (like myself) got a behind-the-scenes tour by JA Board Member, Eileen Peterson (pictured 3rd from the Left).  Eileen is a Dietician and Business Health Consultant for Public Affairs for Kaiser.  Thanks Eileen for the great tour!

The Sports Medicine Center not only is the official sponsor of sports medicine and therapy for the Sacramento Kings and the Sacramento Ballet, but also for Kaiser members who participate in sports for rehabilitation, retraining, and performance.  An interesting fact is that the Endurance Testing facility within the Center is also available to provide endurance testing and data feedback for athletes such as (but not limited to) cyclists and distance runners who are not Kaiser patients (for a fee of course).


From the foyer on L street the elevators whisked us to the Center just above the street.  On the tour which was conducted during lunch hour when the center was closed for patients, we were treated to an impressive focus on the athlete:  Physical therapy rooms, doctor’s offices, sports training machines, and a casting room (for broken bones).  The facility includes a 7,000 square foot gym, onsite imaging, and sport-specific rehabilitation with simulated environments. 

Speaking of simulated training, we observed a very interesting  machine that immitates Aquatic Therapy sans water.  This machine uses air to absorb up to 80% of body weight to nurse injured muscles back to health.  This machine, initially developed for our astronauts to maintain fitness during space missions, helps amputees to learn to move quickly on a new limb, injured soldiers rehabilitate, those with traumatic brain injuries to relearn gait, and elite athletes to increase performance or regain performance after injury.

This machine stands in front of the concussion center which is used to diagnose head concussions in adults and children.  Kaiser’s sports medicine focus includes a team of Sports Medicine Physicians, Orthopedic Surgeons, a Neuropsychologist, Physical Therapists, Certified Athletic Trainers and a Radiology Technologist.  These same doctors who serve as the physicians for the Sacramento Kings are also available to serve athletes of the Sacramento Region. 

I’ve been really excited to see the changes to the downtown and this is just more evidence that Sacramento is coming into its own.  I grew up here and as a young adult had the privilege of living in and visiting a lot of different cities here in the US and around the world.  We have some great natural and historical assets here in Sacramento like the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers, the Gold Rush history, proximity to the Sierras, Folsom Lake, and the Delta and wine country just to name a few so it’s befitting that we’re growing our identity for sports and sports medicine because after all, Sacramento has great weather for sports! 


If you’d like a tour of the Kaiser Permanente Sports Medicine Center, please contact Eileen Peterson at 916-614-4591 or email at