For Immediate Release
May 31, 2016

Contact: Christa Martin, 256-386-4107

Keller Sports Medicine Hosts Athletic Physicals

Sheffield, Ala.- In order for high school athletes to participate in their sports, they are required by the

Alabama High School Athletic Association to have a yearly physical. For the past 20 years, the Helen Keller Hospital Sports Medicine department has offered these to area schools, free of charge. On May 25th, over 550 physicals were performed.

Ricky Bryant, AT (Athletic Trainer) for Deshler High School said, "We don't turn anyone away. We will stay as long as necessary to perform all of the physicals."

Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied healthcare profession since June 1991. All athletic trainers must pass a board exam, mandated by the American Board of Athletic Training. The field includes five domains: 1) Injury/illness prevention including pre-participation physicals 2) Clinical evaluation and diagnosis 3) Immediate and emergency care 4) treatment and rehabilitation 5) Organization and professional health and well-being.

Brent Oliver, AT for Colbert Heights High School says, "Athletic training is my passion. Injuries are inevitable, but I enjoy getting a student back out on the court or field in a fast and safe manner. This includes their yearly physical. We sometimes can catch problems - some are an easy fix, but on rare occasions, a physician will find something that requires special care to ensure the athlete's safety."

"Physicals are big for us at Sheffield High School," said Jason McGee, AT for Sheffield. "It is nice knowing your athlete is healthy before they step food on an athletic field or court."

These physicals are a large-scale production that involves a lot of volunteer time by physicians and other medical staff. Special thanks to Keller Wellcare and Physical Therapy staff, our team of physicians, and our group of physicians' assistants. Without this group, the physicals would not be possible.

Pictured left to right: Pat Smith, Deshler High School Athletic Director; Karleigh Sledge, a junior at Deshler, center on the basketball team, and volleyball hitter; Dr. Mark McIlwain, Oral and Facial Surgery of the Shoals and Medical Director of Sports Medicine at Helen Keller Hospital; Griffin Thompson, a sophomore at Deshler and an offensive lineman for the football team; and Ricky Bryant, Keller Sports Medicine employee and AT for Deshler High School.