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Free physicals offered to Humboldt student athletes

SPORTS PHYSICAL – Brad Royer ATC (athletic trainer certified), tests the strength in Humboldt athlete Caitlyn Armstrong’s neck muscles. Royer, who works with Sports Plus, is also the athletic trainer for Humboldt City Schools’ sports programs and regularly attends games. West TN Healthcare, Sports Plus and local physicians teamed up with Humboldt City Schools to provide free sports physicals for the student athletes.


by Danny Wade

Humboldt’s student athletes went through a rigorous medical exam last week to prepare them for sport next school year. Humboldt City School, Sports Plus and local physicians teamed up to give physicals to all students who will participate in team sports next year.

HEART RATE – Dr. Keith Kirby uses a stethoscope to listen to Bobby Johnson’s heart. Humboldt students participating in school sports had the opportunity to receive free sports physicals in order to compete next school year.

Humboldt City Schools’ Athletic Director George Yarbro partnered with Jeff Lansdale of Sport Plus and staff, Dr. Keith Kirby from Jackson Clinic of Humboldt, Dr. Gina Dieudonne of Rainbow Pediatric Clinic and FNP Zekeya Richmond with the Medical Clinic of Jackson. Dr. Bernie Dietz offered his assistance as well if needed.

“TSSAA requires all student athletes to have a physical before they are allowed to participate in a school sport activity,” Yarbro said. “The free screenings provided by West TN Healthcare, Sports Plus and the doctors are a great service offered to our students.”

“Sports Plus is the lead organizer (of the free physicals) but it would be impossible without local physicians,” said Jeff Lansdale, physical therapist with Sports Plus. “This is the third year Sports Plus physical therapist, office staff and athletic trainers have assisted.”

In past years there have been 60 to 80 students take advantage of the free physicals. Those were performed at Sports Plus inside the Humboldt Medical Center. This year they were planning for more athletes to take advantage with the screening being performed at Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School.

“Having it here at the high school makes it easier on the kids and the parents,” Lansdale said just as the students were arriving for their physicals. “We hope to see increased participation.”

HEAD TO TOE – Dr. Gina Dieudonne examines Tiara Pankey, checking her sinuses and lymph nodes as part of the sports physicals performed at Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School last Wednesday.

Although the services were performed at HJSHS, any student attending Humboldt City Schools that participates in a sport activity was eligible for the free physical.

Brad Royer is an athletic trainer for Sports Plus. He is assigned to Humboldt City Schools and attends many of the high school and junior high game.

“I attend all high school and junior high games—home and away,” Royer said. “I attend home basketball games.”

Royer also attends baseball and softball home games, and an occasional junior varsity game when time allows.

A dozen or more medical professionals and staff assisted and performed the various tests. Sports Plus staff gathered the vitals, such as height, weight, blood pressure and vision checks. Their physical therapists and athletic trainers performed orthopedic screenings. These results are charted for each student. Any issues that arise during this portion of the testing are reported to the physician.

The physician does the final medical screening and will determine if the student is ready to participate in school sports, or if the student needs to have a follow-up with their family physician.

With so many students participating in Humboldt City Schools’ sports programs, offering physicals free of charge is a huge bonus for the kids, as well as a cost savings for the parents. This is just another way Humboldt schools, Humboldt businesses and Humboldt professionals work together for the betterment of Humboldt.

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