Doctors donate their time for athletes’ physicals

Southwest Internal Medicine offers cut-rate exams

Before every prep sports season, students throughout Colorado flock to clinics to obtain sports physicals, which are a prerequisite to participation in middle school and high school athletics.

While sports physicals can be costly in many communities, they have become far more affordable in Montezuma County thanks to doctors at Southwest Internal Medicine, who have offered physicals to local students at a cost of $25.

The latest offering of the reduced-cost physicals, which was open to Dolores Middle School and Dolores High School students, occurred 5-7 p.m. on Aug. 8.

Proceeds generated by the two-hour event were donated back to Dolores High School.

Reduced-cost physicals were offered to Montezuma-Cortez High School students earlier this summer.

“The reason that we do these sports physicals is to make sure that kids are healthy for their sport,” said Southwest Internal Medicine Doctor, Erin Henderson. “The other big thing is that if kids have an existing injury, we try to get them into appropriate rehab so they are ready to go for the sports season.”

One of the more than 50 students who obtained a sports physical at Southwest Internal Medicine on Aug. 8 was high school junior Abby Jones, who plans to play volleyball for the Bears this season.

Clearly appreciative of the opportunity to obtain a physical at a good price, Jones said that Dolores High School’s approach to ensuring its athletes’ health has instilled confidence in her and her teammates.

“I think it’s really nice that (Southwest Internal Medicine) is offering this and that all the proceeds go back to the school and the athletic program,” Jones said. “Dolores is also hiring a trainer who is going to be at the school two times a week. I think that’s really proactive and great for our school.”

With studies regarding the effects of untreated head injuries constantly in the news, doctors at Southwest Internal Medicine agreed that educating parents and athletes regarding head injuries is key. “We see a few head injuries and the biggest thing is getting kids in and getting them seen,” Henderson said. “Kids and parent need to be coached on how to rest and how to recover.”

Asked what led her and her fellow doctors at Southwest Internal Medicine to donate their time to local students, Henderson said that the clinic wanted to give back to the community.

“Most of the doctors in this practice also have kids who have gone through high school,” Henderson said. “We just like to give back, and it’s an important thing to keep our kids healthy and engaged in sports.”