Exams set up athletes for a healthy sports season
Monument Health is offering sports physical examinations free of charge to school-age athletes
RAPID CITY, S.D. — School sports were officially voted back on.
Monument Health is offering sports physical examinations free of charge to school-age athletes at all of Monument Health clinics and urgent care locations.
The free physicals are offered as a courtesy to all local athletes, from grade school to college, as communities work through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sports physicals may seem simple to the untrained eye, but they are very important to ensure the health and well-being of a student on and off the field.
The purpose of a sports physical is to give providers an opportunity to catch potentially life-threatening health problems that can be intensified by sports activity. Most schools require each student-athlete to complete the physical prior to starting practice.
Dr. Joseph Humpherys, Orthopedic Surgeon at Monument Health says,
“The staff that performs the physicals are all trained specifically on NCAA guidelines, High School athletic guidelines, that they’re skilled at picking up risk factors and identifying sports-related risk factors which is not commonly known.”
The student’s medical family history is a focus that may be a direct impact on a child’s ability to play a sport. The screening can reveal potential problems.
Heart murmurs or hidden heart disorders are sometimes found during physicals. A few more-common conditions physicians see that might limit a student’s physical activities include: asthma, allergies and high blood pressure.
“It helps us identify risk factors of injury – we look at history of concussions. Do we need to add different safety protocols, or change the way they tackle or where they hit?” “And so it allows both myself and the rest of the Monument Health staff to identify areas where we can help improve, not only help prevent, but improve how patients can be safe throughout the season.”
The intent is to ensure the health of the athlete and prevent injury, but also assure the athlete has the potential to perform their best; so things like range of motion and strength are evaluated. Based on what is found in the screening, the physician may refer the student to a physical therapist to improve a certain area or even a specialist.
And patient protection is important this year with the COVID-19 risk factors.
“So this year we made the decision to provide these free physicals on a one-on-one basis, sometimes physicals are done in mass, meaning they kind of come in 30 people at a time, but we changed that to be one-on-one mainly because to protect people from COVID, and number two it adds a little more personal touch and we felt that would be good system-wide if we all did that,” says Humphreys.
It’s important to note that a sports physical does not take the place of a regular annual checkup or physical.
Plus, anyone starting a new exercise routine or sport should always consult a healthcare professional before first and sports physicals offer an easy way to do so.
This free service does not include well-child exams, vaccinations, assessment of new or established medical problems, medication refills, or any other types of medical exams. If the exam reveals issues that require further care, the patient will be referred back to their primary care provider.
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