Scrubs showdown: Garfield County hospitals go head-to-head in charity basketball game May 11 |

Scrubs showdown: Garfield County hospitals go head-to-head in charity basketball game May 11

Ray K. Erku and Taylor Cramer
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Grand River's Daniel Roy, left, and Jason Prado practice at Deerfield Park in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Two Garfield County hospitals are going head-to-head in an epic, inaugural showdown of basketball.

Next week, members of the Valley View Hospital of Glenwood Springs team tip off against a team representing Grand River Health of Rifle. 

The game is set for 7 p.m. May 11 at Coal Ridge High School and aims to raise funds for A Way Out, a regional nonprofit that offers resources for people living with substance abuse disorders.

There is no charge to get in, but attendees are being encouraged to bring their wallets as donation counters will be at the door. Both hospitals look to provide $2,500 matches for funds raised.

Coaching for Grand River is Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Coleman, who said he takes after infamous University of Indiana coach Bobby Knight.

The Grand River Health basketball team practices at Deerfield Park in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

“Everybody in this community has been through a lot with the pandemic,” Coleman said. “We’re ready to move on with life, just like everybody else, and Valley View is ready to move on with life.

“Let’s just get together and have fun, forget about all the past.”

According to a Valley View representative, the charity fundraiser first began in 2019 in honor of Christiaan Mauer, who passed away in 2019 from a brain tumor. This year’s event was chosen to support A Way Out after a Grand River employee lost a battle to alcoholism.

“In years past we have typically held a medical conference as a sort of charity fundraiser in Dr. Mauer’s name,” Valley View Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Brooks said. “This year, myself and Kevin Coleman spoke and we figured — why not turn this into something else and compete against each other in a basketball game?”

Brooks also spoke to the community’s effort in addressing substance abuse.

“Substance use disorders are gravely impacted in our community and in the United States,” Brooks said. “I think it’s really important as hospital organizations that we do what we can to care for those who need care. Substance use is a disease and we as professionals need to recognize it as a disease and be there for individuals affected by it.”

Janice Joyner of Grand River Health passes the ball during practice at Deerfield Park in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Switching over to what should be a competitive game next Thursday, Brooks said the relationship between the two hospitals has made the opportunity for the fundraiser to grow both from a spectator and donations standpoint.

“When COVID-19 hit, we were forced to work together and in doing so, we have built a strong relationship,” Brooks said. “We are better off working together as two hospital systems to better support the community and this game will be one of the many ways we are able to do so.”

Smack talk

The rules for next week’s game are simple: each team must have two practitioners and two females on the court at all times. Players also come from various departments — physical therapy, radiology, maintenance and more.

Coleman said players for orthopedics are typically the best.

“They tend to be the jocks,” he joked.

Grand River is Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Coleman coaches practice at Deerfield Park in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Wearing custom-made Grand River jerseys and practicing at Rifle’s Deerfield Park were 17 players on Wednesday. Coleman quipped to players from courtside as he told the Post Independent that he had at least 30 Grand River employees sign up to play.

Coleman also said he’s heard how Valley View is preparing for next week’s game.

“They said they put a hiring freeze on any employee under six foot. They said they put all the trash cans 10 feet away, so you had to shoot your trash,” he said. “They said there’s a guy from Los Angeles named LeBron that they’re gonna bring in.”

Directing drills on Wednesday was Grand River Health’s Zach Johnson. Knowing his team is facing a formidable Valley View team — one Valley View medical student, James Manor, played for the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill — he said Grand River is looking pretty good but needs more conditioning.

Still, the game’s really about accruing donations.

Daniel Roy tries to take the lane while practicing at Deerfield Park in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

“At the end of the day, that’s what this is all about,” he said. “We’re here for a really good cause, coming together as a community. It’s fun to be competitive, it’s fun to want to win.

“But at the end of the day we all know why we’re out here.”

Johnson also spoke highly of Grand River’s custom-made basketball jerseys.

“They’re straight fire,” he said.

Despite Valley View’s stacked roster, Grand River has its own stars. There’s former Metro State player Chelsea Lawrenz. There’s also Luke Braby, who helped Grad Valley High School win the state basketball tourney in 2007.

“I salute Dr. Coleman for making this happen — it’s been his dream for three years. I salute Valley View for being up to the challenge,” Braby said. “As far as this game goes, I’m not some out-of-town, shift-in ringer. 

“I’m a local kid from Parachute. I’m a proud graduate of Grand Valley High School. And in those times, we took a lot of pride in the challenge of going up east and playing against bigger institutions. 

“We get that chance again this time.”

But that was then, and this is now, Braby added.

“It’s all about Thursday night,” he said. “That’s yesterday’s news. We got to give the people what they want come Thursday night.”

Grand River Health’s Zach Johnson directs practice at Deerfield Park in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Who will prevail?

Coleman calls this game a battle of David v. Goliath. And we all know what happened to Goliath, Coleman said.

“We have the heart. The heart is what it’s all about,” he said. “So, yeah, we have heart and we have the drive to win.”

While Brooks is excited for the opportunity to support a great cause, he is also seeing this as an opportunity to up the score on Grand River.

“It’s going to be a fun game and I think both hospitals are excited for the opportunity to raise some money for a cause that matters to this community,” Brooks said. “I think we are going to splash a lot of threes in their faces on (Thursday).”

Want to tune in? KMTS 99.1 is set to cover next Thursday’s game.


What: Grand River, Valley View charity basketball game
When: 7 p.m., Thursday, May 11
Where: Coal Ridge High School, 35947 U.S. HIghway 6
How much: Free (donations welcome)


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