Several members of the Nebo School Board are concerned that some district students are practicing for athletics before having a physical examination.
Board member Dean Bristow expressed concern at a recent meeting that some students are waiting until actual competition before being cleared by a physician. He said a local pediatrician told him that several students recently requested last-minute physicals so they could become eligible to participate before leaving on a road trip.Bristow said his concern is that the students are practicing with the teams before having a physical and only getting the physical to become eligible. He said the athletes should not be trying out or practicing until their health has been checked by a doctor.
"We're subjecting kids with unknown conditions to the stress of practice and training," Bristow said.
District policy says the athletes must have one physical examination during high school and then must be cleared by parents each year thereafter to compete.
Bristow said rheumatic fever is on the outbreak and it can't be detected unless a frequent physical is required. He said the fever can result in heart disease.
"A kid that might be perfectly fit as a ninth-grader could fall over dead as a sophomore," he said. "It is my recommendation that before any student sets foot on a practice field that he has a physical exam."
Dean Allan, director of secondary education, said that district principals have been told to require annual physicals and not to allow students to compete until they receive clearance from a doctor.
"Our principals just feel that athletes should have a physical every year," he said.
Superintendent J. Wayne Nelson said coaches and other supervisors often have a difficult time getting students to meet deadlines for physical examinations. "We've always had those people who push deadlines to the limit," he said.
Dave McKee, athletic director at Payson High School, agreed that it is difficult for coaches to get their athletes to have the required physical examination before competing. However, he said not allowing athletes to practice or tryout until being cleared by a physician is a good idea.
McKee said that next year the coaching staff at Payson High School will have a group of doctors come to the school at the beginning of the year and give physical examinations during one session to every student interested in participating in athletics.
"That way we'll get it over with in one shot and know that the kids are OK to play," he said.
Board member Richard Johnson said coaches who allow students to compete before receiving a physical examination would be liable if something happened to the student.