St. Al added to free physical clinic

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 26, 2002

[06/26/02]A July session in Jackson to provide required physicals for Vicksburg and Warren Central athletes will now also include St. Aloysius athletes.

Mississippi Sports Medicine, a Jackson clinic, will provide all the exams on July 15 when students are bused there.

St. Al’s physicals will begin at 6 p.m., athletic director Joe Graves said. Athletes must pick up a physical form from the St. Al office and have it signed by a parent before the screening.

Physicals for VHS and WC athletes will begin at 5:30 p.m. Buses will depart from the Vicksburg Junior High and Warren Central Junior High parking lots at 4 p.m., and will return around 8 p.m.

Athletes must have physical forms completed and signed by their parents before they can have a physical. Forms are available from coaches, the Vicksburg Warren athletic office on Mission 66, at Vicksburg High or at the junior high schools.

Physicals will be given to VJHS and WCJHS students playing seventh and eighth-grade football and WCJHS’ eighth-grade cheerleaders.

VHS athletes participating in football, cheerleading, swimming, slow-pitch softball, cross country and the Gator Girls will also receive physicals on July 15. All physicals for winter and spring sports will be given in September.

“This is great. It saves our kids a lot of money,” Graves said. “It helps all of our programs tremendously here … This means everybody will have their physicals where they can play fall sports.”

The Jackson doctors had already completed their scheduled free physicals for fall sports, but agreed to let athletes from VHS and WC attend a clinic in July for athletes competing in state football and basketball all-star games.

After learning of the agreement for VHS and WC, Graves said he contacted the clinic and was extended the same courtesy.

“It’s just a few more to do, that’s all,” MSM administrator Bob Lodes said.

Without the free clinic, a student-athlete would have had to pay. Doctors typically charge $35-$50 for an exam, causing a potential hardship for some families, especially those with multiple children in school sports.

Citing the potential for lawsuits, Vicksburg’s doctors as well as many others around the state decided in late May to stop a tradition of providing free physicals for high school athletes. Under state regulations, no student may participate in a sport without medical certification of basic fitness.

The Jackson clinic will have other, regularly scheduled free sessions for winter and spring sports, but no more before the school year starts.

Most athletes at Warren Central had their physicals earlier in May, but the decision forced the cancellation of a clinic that would have provided free physicals for athletes at Vicksburg High, St. Aloysius and Porters Chapel.

PCA athletic director Bubba Mims said there are no plans for his school to participate in any free clinics.

“Everybody is just getting their own personal physician,” Mims said. “Hopefully it won’t deter anyone from playing.”