Two Tyler sporting greats wanted their hometown to be the base of operations for a transcendent facility and research lab for sports medicine and therapy.
Texas Spine & Joint Hospital, in conjunction with Earl Campbell and Gary Baxter, invited special guests and media to take a tour of the Project Rose Sports Science Center.
Campbell is a John Tyler High School graduate, a Heisman trophy winner and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back for the Houston Oilers. Baxter is also a John Tyler graduate who played football at Baylor and was a part of the 2001 Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl championship team before enjoying a six-year career with the Ravens and Cleveland Browns.
“Gary and I being from Tyler, we started talking two or three years ago about what we could do for Tyler,” Campbell said. “We went to the NFL after we thought of the idea of (Project Rose), and Baxter and myself got with the doctors here and the NFL backed us, so we are going to bring a lot of the ex-players here as well as today’s players.”
The reception took place Friday afternoon inside the Sports Medicine and Therapy Services Department of Texas Spine & Joint Hospital.
The two invited some famous friends to join them. One of the special guests was Mike Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker who captained what is widely considered to be the best defense ever - the 1985 Chicago Bears.
“Gary Baxter is a young man I knew when he was at Baltimore … and he began to talk to me about what he was doing - trying to figure out ways to get guys healthy, whether it be the brain or limbs or whatever,” Singletary said of how he became a part of the project. "I am with a company that is working on an apparatus to see the brain and look at the damage when it happens. It’s great to get to (Tyler) and have a chance to see what they’re doing.”
Robert Brazile played with Campbell with the Houston Oilers and is now a finalist for the 2018 class for the Hall of Fame. They were joined by Vernon Perry, another of Campbell’s teammates with the Oilers and Butch Myers, a 1980 Pro Rodeo Steer Wrestling World Champion. His son, Cash, also was on hand. Cash Myers is a seven-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in steer wrestling.
The Project Rose Sports Science Center is adorned with autographed football jerseys from running backs Eddie George and Derrick Johnson, but what immediately catches the eye is the equipment. Project Rose features some of the latest innovations in modern fitness and rehabilitation equipment.
The Center for Excellence that has been built with Texas Spine & Joint and partner Baylor Scott and White is Phase 1 of the project.
“For Earl and myself, this is a dream come true,” Baxter said. “We’ve done a lot of hard work on this. We wanted to bring something special. Project Rose Research Institute for Sports Science is tax exempt; We’re raising money to do research in the field of sports. We want to make sure for the next generation that we are helping to prevent injuries and stop injuries through education. Then even after guys get hurt or injured, we want to be there to help them return to the field and/or return to normal life.”
Phase 2 will feature a Bio-Mechanic Lab where researchers will work on everything from muscle tears to helping prevent and lessen the effects of concussions.
“We are going to be working with the best doctors, the best researchers and with the best equipment,” Baxter said.
For more information on Project Rose, visit www.projectrose.science .