UW Health: Free physicals for uninsured high school athletes

Contact: Gian Galassi
[email protected]

Madison, Wisconsin— Each year, almost 100,000 students participate in high school athletics in Wisconsin. Of those living in Dane County, it’s estimated that two to five percent lack health insurance to pay for the one thing the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association says they must have before they can even step on the field or the court to practice, a basic sports physical.

To help student-athletes get into uniform, the Dane County Sports Medicine Council is again teaming up with UW Health Sports Medicine and UW School of Medicine and Public Health to offer a free athletic physical clinic from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8 at the Access Community Health Center, located at 2202 S. Park St. UW Health physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, residents, and medical students will provide the physicals. As part of the clinic, immunizations are reviewed and performed if indicated, and athletes may also sign up for Badger Care. Spanish translators will be available.

“For student-athletes who have no health insurance or very limited financial resources, or other challenges, this eliminates a hurdle to participation and insures that they can stay active and do what they like to do,” says Joe Greene, an athletic trainer and administrator with the UW Health Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation. “It’s also essential to have a thorough physical to make sure these athletes are healthy before their sport season begins as many of these athletes may have experienced limited access to appropriate care in the past.”

Greene and Dr. David Bernhardt, a pediatric and adolescent sports medicine specialist with UW Health Sports Medicine, will once again provide medical direction for the clinic. Both are members of the Dane County Sports Medicine Council, the organization sponsoring the clinic. Medical student volunteers are coordinated by MEDiC, a registered student organization at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Student-athletes should try to arrive at the following assigned times:

Students with last names beginning with A-I: 6 pm;

J-R: 7 p.m.

S-Z: no later than 8 p.m.

Parents are encouraged to attend with their children, and must be present for their child to receive immunizations. Parents also need to bring their child’s immunization records. All athletes are asked to wear shorts for the exam and female athletes are asked to wear tank tops. Athletes who do have insurance and who need an athletic physical should not attend this clinic. Instead, they should contact their primary-care physician to schedule an appointment.