featured free physicals for all athletes
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — Practices have yet to begin for fall sports, but high school athletes lined up to get one important box checked off – sports physicals and electrocardiograms (EKGs).
More than a dozen orthopedic specialists and other providers, technicians and physical therapists performed these checks Friday afternoon for nearly 200 high schoolers competing next school year in everything from football and soccer to cheer and dance.
This special clinic, put on entirely by Health First, featured free physicals for all athletes, and free EKGs for students who qualify for free or reduced lunches, $20 for all others.
The Florida High School Athletic Association requires a physical examination yearly as well as at least one EKG over the career of a high school athlete.
“We want to ensure the safety of our student athletes before they participate in sporting activities,” said Orthopedist Dr. Schuyler DeJong.
“Many of the students participate in summer training programs, so we try and time our physical exams at the end of the school year but before the students start their summer conditioning. This is also a requirement the students need before they are allowed to participate, so we help meet that requirement.”
Dr. DeJong is the team physician for the Florida Institute of Technology’s athletic programs, a title he’s held for roughly 15 years.
The physical exam evaluated orthopedic areas of health including posture, joints, strength and flexibility, as well as vision and vitals.
“As for EKGs, the goal is to try and minimize the risk of the rare but catastrophic event that can result from cardiac abnormalities in some young student athletes.” Dr. DeJong said.
“An organization called Who We Play For performs the EKGs, and Health First is a sponsor of Who We Play For.”
The one-day clinic may be repeated later in the summer depending on need and resources.
“I kind of try to be cautious with my health, and I am healthy, so yeah, I’m not worried” said Cocoa Beach High School volleyball player Vittoria Lane, 14, before going in for her checks.
“I just hope that everything turns out fine and I can keep going with sports.”
To find out more about Health First Orthopedics, or to schedule an appointment, visit HF.org/Ortho.