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Free athletic screenings available for some local students

June 9, 2011
By KELLY FOSNESS - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Last year between 350 and 400 local students took advantage of Portage Health's free athletic screening day, and this year, organizers are expecting yet another successful turnout.

The free athletic screening day is set for Tuesday and is open to Hancock, Jeffers, Dollar Bay, Houghton, Stanton and Chassell schools.

"We're excited to offer these free screenings for student athletes again this year," event organizer Shannon Richter said. "Kids from nearly all Houghton County schools will be able to get their screenings free of charge."

Article Photos

Brandon Veale/Daily Mining Gazette
Shane Raasio of Hancock throws the discus at Saturday’s U.P. Finals in Kingsford. Free athletic screenings will be offered to students of Hancock, Jeffers, Dollar Bay, Stanton, Houghton and Chassell schools Tuesday.

Richter, registered nurse and unit manager of Portage Health's family practice in Houghton and Hancock, said the screenings are designed for healthy kids, not those who have a pre-existing health condition. In that case, she said, the student will be asked to follow up with their family doctor to have a regular physical.

"When we see that they have asthma or something along those lines, they really need a regular physical at that point," she said.

Screenings will take place for Hancock Public Schools from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Portage Health's main campus, located at 500 Campus Drive in Hancock. Adams Township and Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area schools will follow at 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Screenings for Houghton-Portage Township Schools will be available from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Portage Health University Center, located at 600 MacInnes Drive in Houghton. Chassell Township and Stanton Township schools will follow from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In order to participate, students must bring their Michigan High School Athletic Association physical examination clearance form, which they receive from the school.

"They have to have that filled out by their parents," Richter said. "The form includes their medical history ... so parents need to fill out all of that information and they have to sign that form."

Athletic screenings are required annually in order for students to participate in school athletics, Richter said. Each screening takes about five minutes.

"It's a basic eye exam. ... We take their basic vital signs and then the physician does a basic head to toe exam," she said. "They listen to their heart and their lungs and check for hernias."

Additionally, students who wear contacts are asked to wear them to the exam, or bring their glasses.

Richter said the athletic screenings Tuesday are not to be confused with regular physicals.

"It doesn't take the place of a regular well child exam so if their kids are due, they need to get in with their family provider," she said. "That's where they're going to get their immunizations updated, which we don't do at the screening."



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