Vail Valley Medical Center and the Steadman Clinic have partnered for almost 20 years to offer free High School Pre-Participation Physicals to high school student-athletes in Eagle County. Each year nearly 250 high school boys and girls take advantage of this free offering.
The purpose of the high school physicals is to try to find any pre-existing issues that can be corrected so the students can play more safely. The most common cause of death in youth sports can be detected with a thorough physical examination before sports participation. While athletics support an active and healthy lifestyle, there are inherent risks of injury, especially as sports become more rigorous in high school.
If injuries are found, students are given advice and education to help them recover, including home exercise programs, referrals for more specific screenings, and recommendations for future injury prevention. Concussions, a particular area of concern in young athletes, is just one of the areas of focus during these physicals. Baseline neurocognitive testing is done at no-charge to the families and is used as a tool to help an athlete get back into activity if they sustain a concussion during sports.
A thorough cardiac, orthopaedic and medical examination is done by specialists to minimize the risk of serious injuries that can be caused by underlying health issues.
The goal of offering this physical and testing at no cost is to make athletics possible for all our high school student-athletes, but the true mission is to keep these young athletes healthy and safe.