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County athletes get free physicals

In attempts to make sure every athlete in Butler County is healthy enough to play high school sports, Rehab Associates of Greenville administered free physicals earlier this week.

Sixty-seven county athletes took advantage of the free examinations held at Greenville High School Thursday afternoon in preparation for the next school year.

"The main reason that we do pre-participation physical exams is because it's a great tool to screen the athletes for preexisting conditions such as orthopedic problems or even cardiovascular problems," Rehab Associates' Director of Sports Medicine Jason Peavy said. "With more and more focus on heat-related illnesses and the increasing number of fatalities with athletes, it's important to have a proper screening process for these athletes before we allow them to participate."

Greenville High School Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Alvin Briggs had 55 athletes show up for the physicals. He said it's nice to have individuals come together to help the athletes of Butler County, but wishes more GHS athletes would have participated.

"This just tells us how much Rehab Associates and Jackson Hospital is involved in our cities athletic program for the doctors and nurses to volunteer their time," Briggs said. "It's a service that's not normally done for free. To perform that service is great. Even though we had 55 athletes there, we should have had three times that many."

Briggs believes the athletes that didn't attend will regret it later this summer.

"The ones that didn't come really missed out," he said. "Now they'll have to pay to have it done. You can't play sports in the Alabama High School Athletic Association or in the Alabama Independent School Association without a physical. It's a must."

Peavy was pleased with the turnout, but also wishes there would have been more participants. He believes with the number of athletes in the county school system, the turnout was low.

"I was extremely pleased with the support that we had from the local physicians and nurses we had performing the examinations, however, I wish there would have been more athletes participate. Only having 66 children from three schools in the county, that leaves a lot of athletes out there that will not have their physicals and will have to go out on their own. We're providing a completely free service and physicians and nurses are completely volunteering their time to screen the children and we only had maybe a third of the athletes in the county to take advantage of the free opportunity. They have to understand that they will now have to depend on getting the physicals themselves and be out of pocket $60 to $90."

"I'd like to thank Melissa English, Dr. Canu Patel, Dr. Ali Nami and Dr. William Tuten for showing their support for the local athletics," he added.

Eleven athletes from Georgiana High School were on hand for the free physicals. Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Keith York also hoped for more Panther athletes to attend.

"It was great, but I just wish I could have been able to bring more children," he said. "When the children get out for summer, everybody's got different things going on and are out of town, it's hard to get everybody together. They're ready for a break. I appreciate it the doctors volunteering their time and Rehab Associates, especially Jason Peavy, because they help us tremendously."