You asked: Local ADs say policy for physicals is thorough

Published 7:58 am Saturday, October 8, 2011

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You asked: What are the requirements for physicals for high school athletes?

FRANKLIN—Local athletic directors believe steps taken by the Virginia High School League in the area of student athlete physicals are thorough enough.

The VHSL requires student athletes to get a physical before participating, said VHSL Assistant Director Tom Dolan.

In addition to asking a doctor to check for abnormalities in the heart, lungs, pulse, lymph nodes, abdomen, eyes, ears, nose and throat, the physical includes 52 questions for parents related to prior conditions that may result in an athlete being physically unable to participate.

“In the standard of high school physicals, it’s pretty thorough,” Dolan said.

An electrocardiograph reading is not a required portion of the mandated physical, but a doctor can perform one if it is necessary, but insurance usually does not cover the procedure as part of a physical, he said.

“The questions can determine whether another test is necessary,” Dolan said. “Let me tell you, if there is something that sends up a red flag in the mind of a doctor they will pursue it.”

The physicals also require doctors to check the neck, back, shoulder, arm, elbow, forearms, wrist, hand, fingers, hip, thigh, knees, ankles, legs, feet and toes of an athlete for abnormalities before clearance to participate can be granted.

Physical forms can be completed as early as May 1 of the previous school year and run through June 30 of the following year, Dolan said.

“I think they’re doing a pretty good job,” said Franklin High School Athletic Director Dave Lease of the VHSL standards. “It’s pretty thorough.”

FHS allows student athletes the opportunity for free physicals through a partnership with Southampton Memorial Hospital, Lease said.

He said the majority of athletes take advantage of the service in which the transportation to the hospital is free as the school provides a bus.

Southampton High School Athletic Director Littleton Parker had no comment on whether he thought physicals were thorough enough except to say “the (VHSL) knows what they want and we provide them with that.”

Windsor High School Athletic Director Chuck Parrish said he believes physicals currently go far enough to keep athletes safe, but thinks a mandatory EKG could be a part of physicals in the future.

“I think the more things that come out the more thorough they will become,” Parrish said. “Anything they think will be more thorough and will help protect the safety and well-being of young men and women I’m all for. I don’t think it ever hurts to be thorough.”

In addition to the standard physical form given to athletes, WHS also requires students to fill out a concussion information packet before they can participate in any sport, Parrish said.