(SAVANNAH) The back to school to do list includes a pair of items focused on health: immunizations and physical examinations for student athletes. From football to wrestling to cheer leading and more, the athletes have to have completed physical examination forms from a certified provider. Emergency room physician, Dr. John Rowlett, says the first goal is an assessment of the overall health of the student. “”The second thing is there anything about the specific activity that q child wants to participate in that might pose a risk to them based on an underlying health issue.” said Rowlett. Those underlying issues can be deadly, like the young football player year old who died after a football practice in Lexington, South Carolina last summer. “The sudden death of an athlete is just every parent, every coach, every physicians fear. There are unfortunately no great test for every individual that absolutely nothing can happen, but we have some pretty good guidelines.
Those guidelines are updated as with the latest health issues relating to athletics included in the game plan for the pre-participation physical exam. The athletics director for the biggest public school system in the coastal empire says those guidelines now include… “Concussion protocols, which we are required to follow to a T and we do, it’s all as preventative as we can possibly be.” said Dr. Kenneth Traylor with the Savannah Chatham County Public School Stem. Dr. Traylor says the paperwork attached to the SCCPSS physicals for student athletes includes documentation designed to be prepared if the student athlete requires medical attention. The forms include medical history, emergency contact information, and even permission to treat. “So it’s not just to see if you’re in physical condition, it’s also paperwork that would help us treat your child or help the EMT’S or the trainer treat your child should he be injured.” Dr. Traylor said.
Vaccinations are the front line defense for every student, a shield against the spread of diseases that could ravage children. Tammi Brown, the Chatham County Nurse Manager for the Coastal Health District, says the required vaccines protect against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and most recently added for older students,meningococcal vaccine. Brown says older students are required to get boosters because they’re more close-knit than younger students. “A lot more touching so they’re more at risk to develop, um, a reaction from the meningococcal l virus.” Brown said. She adds that there is also the requirement for students who’re new to the public education system in Georgia. “Ear, eye, dental, and nutrition, it’s a screening that children need before they can enter school for the first time.” said Brown. The EED exam costs about $30 dollars, but Brown says SCCPSS is offering it for free next Tuesday. Brown says the Free EED Day is set for July 25th at the health department’s Eisenhower Location. SCCPSS offers low-cost physicals are twice annually; once in the fall and again in spring. Those physicals are $10 dollars.