Sports physicals, how effective are they? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

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Sports physicals, how effective are they?

By Christie Post - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Doctors said that prevention and preparation is the key to ensure the safety of all athletes. This comes after a southeast high school student collapses after scoring his second touchdown of the night, and then suddenly died.

Preliminary autopsy results reveal no obvious cause of death for the West Orange athlete. We wanted to know how student athletes can prevent the same fate.

The state requires physical exams for 7th and 8th graders and in high school they every other year. But doctors said this is just a screening and more needs to be done to ensure the safety of athletes on and off the field.

"It starts with the medical history, then the physical, then the condition of the athletes and what their overall health is," said LISD Athletic Trainer Coordinator, Ronnie Kirk.

The pre-participation physical evaluation has two parts - medical history and a physical exam. And with all the news about teen athletes dying playing their sport. Doctors said a parents' worst nightmare can be prevented.

"With a pre participation physical exam it encompasses everything. A good one has a great history that goes into great detail concussion history, asthma, any type of surgeries that a young athlete may have had in their lifetime," said UMC Physical Medicine and Rehab Director, John Lowe.

The state revised the exam in January of last year to add more questions about screening for heart health. But doctors said sometimes that's not enough.

"Most of it is orthopedic, but you can have things like heart murmur, asthma or epilepsy," said Kirk.

So athletes might need more tests and ultimately it comes down to communication.  "For athletes it's important they talk to their coaches, their trainers and there parents if anything is going on that may be out of the ordinary so these issues can be addressed," said Lowe.

Lubbock Independent School District goes above and beyond the state requirements making their high school athletes get physicals yearly.

"We have had in the past athletes that were disqualified because of some medical condition. Hopefully we are just looking for the best interest of all the LISD athletes," said Kirk.

LISD said if you can't prevent a situation you need to be prepared. "It's just something that happens but you can be prepared to handle the situation. At Lowery field we have an ambulance on site, a team doctor on the field and then we have our athletic trainers," said Kirk.

Everyday LISD said they have about 30 athletes in and out of the training room, and in high school about 100. They also said at every game they have a medical physician to ensure the safety of each athlete.

Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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