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Local athletes take advantage of free physicals

June 24, 2011

West Point athletes took a break from summer workouts Friday afternoon to take advantage of a free physical at the West Point Wellness Center.

Medical students from William Carey University in Hattiesburg donated their time to make the trip to West Point and offer the service.

"This is the first time we've ever done anything like this," said Ned Miller, a West Point native and one of 18 students on hand. "It's a way for us to get the experience and serve the community."

Athletes are required to have a yearly physical before participating in any high school event and can cost as much as $50 from a family doctor or physician. Miller said the service is saving the athletes and their parents some money while furthering the medical education of the students.

Miller says there are plans in the works to serve all the schools within Clay County because their is a need for the service.

With temperatures reaching the upper 90's and very little rain so far this summer, Miller says it's very important for athletes to stay healthy during the off season.

"Especially in these hot summer days, you need to be sure there is no disposition to any kind of heat related illness," he said. "It's extremely important."

Heat-related illnesses have been on the rise in recent years. A study released in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that high school athletes are sidelined more than 9,000 days a year because of heat-related illnesses. In the study, based on data from 2005-2009, football players suffered the most heat-related illnesses with the majority of theses cases occurring in August.

Miller says there a few steps athletes can take to prevent it; stay hydrated, take regular breaks and limit your time in direct sunlight.

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