On Tuesday, Aug. 7, St. Peter Family Medicine Clinic in Olympia will be holding a Sports Physical Clinic for all student athletes looking for the appropriate medical clearance to play.
Start time for the clinic is at 5:30 p.m. at 525 Lilly Road NE in Olympia, and will run until all athletes have undergone the physical.
The clinic, started in 1991, uses the money spent by athletes and their families for the physical to donate back to the North Thurston School District High Schools sports training programs.
“The cost is $20 per physical, and all of that money goes back to the district and is divided appropriately amongst the schools,” said Melody Woods, the Administrative Assistant for St. Peter Family Medicine Clinic.
Having a clinic that provides such a service to local student athletes is very appreciated by school district officials.
“It’s a great contribution by the community, the doctors and the clinic,” said Rich Yelenich, Athletic Director for North Thurston Public Schools. “The health care providers donate their evenings and stay to serve all the kids. It’s very amazing and we are happy to be involved with such a project. We’re very appreciative of their great effort.”
The money generated by the clinic is a vital part of student athlete safety for the three North Thurston high schools.
“Each high school has their own athletic program and within that athletic program, there is a budget for athletic training supplies,” Yelenich said. “This is one of the main ways to raise money to buy more athletic tape and first aid supplies to keep these kids safe.”
Last year, the clinic had around 300 teenagers show up, with the entire process taking little over an hour for each individual.
This year, the clinic has confirmation from three nurses from St. Peters Emergency Room, and more staff from East Olympia Family Medicine and the host clinic. Woods estimates around 10-15 physicians will be on site along with the rest of the support staff.
The clinic will be split up into stations, where student athletes will undergo various examinations before seeing a physician.
“One staff group will be doing blood testing, another eyes, and another for muscular examinations,” Woods said. “Then a physician will look over the individual before a second physician puts together all the information for approval.”
While the cost is listed at $20 per individual, exceptions are made in case of financial conflicts.
“We always tell people, if $20 is too much or not feasible, we will still administer the physical,” Woods said. “We don’t turn anyone away and we will get all the kids seen.”
Helping provide a valuable service to local athletes, along with donating funds back into scholastic sports is part of what makes the clinic so special.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community and to the kids,” Woods said. “We make sure that the kids are healthy while at the same time, we give to programs that keep students healthy. It’s a win-win situation.”
One of the originators of the Sports Clinic is Dr. Lowell Dightman, a faculty physician at St. Peter Family Medicine Clinic and the on staff doctor for the Timberline High School football and wrestling teams. For his contributions to the school, Dr. Dightman has been inducted into the Timberline High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
“He was one of the guys to develop the idea, and he comes year after year to help,” Woods said. “I know he is proud to be involved with the clinic and to see its development.”
While all kids will be able to undergo a physical, Woods says it’s important to stay patient at the clinic.
“There will be a lot of people showing up, so we ask everyone in attendance to be courteous and understanding,” Woods said. “And it never hurts to show up a little early.”
For more information on the Sports Physical Clinic, click here.