Students were bused to the health sciences building at the Walker County Center of Technology for the exams, which included vision tests, blood pressure checks and heart and lung assessments, as well as orthopedic screenings.
Fifteen doctors and physican assistants from Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham and Champion Sports Medicine provided the physical exams.
Nursing students from Bevill State Communuty College also assisted with the exams.
“These are free sports physicals for students in grades 8 through 12,” said Margaret Guthrie, the health services coordinator for the Walker County school system.
Mike Ryan, director of sports medicine for Champion Sports Medicine, helped Guthrie coordinate the event.
“The exams are mandated by the Alabama High School Athletic Association, which is a good thing,” Ryan said. “These exams are important because we can follow up sometimes with injuries that the kids might have had, but we may also pick up some big things, whether it’s a heart murmur or some kind of cardiovascular condition.”
Ryan said in addition to Friday’s free exams, the athletes are encouraged to continue to have yearly checkups with their primary care physicians. “Those exams are a little more thorough, and the kids get to spend a little more time with their doctors,” he said. “Today’s exams are more of a pre-participation-type checkup to make sure we pick up the really big problems that the kids may have.”