Free Physicals for Uninsured High School Athletes

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Madison, Wisconsin - Each year, almost 100,000 students participate in high school athletics in Wisconsin. Of those living in Dane County, it's estimated that two to five percent lack health insurance to pay for the one thing the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association says they must have before they can even step on the field or the court to practice: a basic sports physical.


To help student-athletes get into uniform, the Dane County Sports Medicine Council is again teaming up with UW Health Sports Medicine and UW School of Medicine and Public Health to offer a free athletic physical clinic from 6-9pm on Tuesday, August 7 at the Access Community Health Center, located at 2202 S. Park Street in Madison.


UW Health physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, residents, and medical students will provide the physicals. As part of the clinic, immunizations are reviewed and provided if indicated, and athletes may also sign up for BadgerCare. Spanish translators will be available.


"For student-athletes who have no health insurance or very limited financial resources, or other challenges, this eliminates a hurdle to participation and ensures that they can stay active and do what they like to do," says John Fowler, an athletic trainer with the UW Health Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation. "It's also essential to have a thorough physical to make sure these athletes are healthy before their sports season begins as many of these athletes may have experienced limited access to appropriate care in the past.”


Fowler and Dr. David Bernhardt, a pediatric and adolescent sports medicine specialist with UW Health Sports Medicine, will provide medical direction for the clinic. Medical student volunteers are coordinated by MEDiC, a registered student organization at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.


Student-athletes should try to arrive at the following assigned times. Students with last names beginning with:

  • A-I: 6pm
  • J-R: 7pm
  • S-Z: no later than 8pm

Parents are encouraged to attend with their children and must be present for their child to receive immunizations. Parents also need to bring their child’s immunization records. All athletes are asked to wear shorts for the exam and female athletes are asked to wear tank tops. Athletes who do have insurance and who need an athletic physical should not attend this clinic. Instead, they should contact their primary care physician to schedule an appointment.


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Date Published: 07/30/2018

News tag(s):  sports medicinedavid t bernhardt

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