Communities organize sports physicals, immunizations for young athletes heading back to school

In light of the difficulties facing families in the economic downturn, many school districts have organized events to offer supplies and services to children returning to school.

Back-to-school fairs have become popular in communities all over the country, including Massachusetts, Indiana, Florida and Oregon. The Kansas City Kansas Community College campus in Wyandotte County hosted a large event on August 4, which provided everything from backpacks to haircuts to immunizations to more than 3,000 students.

Immunizations are often required and certainly recommended for every student entering school, as they help to make sure that each student stays healthy and spends as much time as possible in the classroom. In recent years, new strains of the flu and a resurgence of whooping cough have kept many children home for multiple days, potentially causing them to fall behind on the curriculum.

On August 8, the PeaceHealth Medical Group clinic in Creswell, Oregon held its annual event offering sports exams to students for just $20. The group donates all of the proceeds from the physicals back to the community as well – the funds are used to purchase items like new youth football pads and basketball uniforms and cover participation fees for students unable to afford them.

Leading organizations like the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and the National Athletic Trainers' Association say that it is always critical to have a physical before participating in  sports. An exam by a healthcare professional can uncover any potential risks to children's safety and determine a baseline for concussion testing, which is an increasingly popular method of identifying brain injuries in sports medicine.

Physicals and immunizations are important for every child, regardless of age. Parents can find many inexpensive clinics and fairs that offer low-cost or free exams for students of all ages.