BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - High school athletes across the coast are either in the middle of spring training or getting prepared for an upcoming season.
Saturday, Bienville Orthopedics wanted to make sure these athletes were in top physical condition. To do that, doctors and trainers offered sports physicals, free of charge.
About 1500 high school students arrived by the busload to the Cedar Lake Medical Plaza, all hoping to be cleared to play in the upcoming school year.
"We really appreciate these doctors and nurses and what they're doing. You know, some of these kids come from households where they can't just go out and drop 50 for 100 bucks just to get a physical," said Long Beach Athletic Director, Forrest Williams.
In addition to the cost of visiting a doctor, there's also the issue of time. Some parents may not get a chance to bring their child to a physician during the week.
"It's a great opportunity on the weekend because a lot of parents work Monday through Friday," said one parent.
For some, pre-participation screening exams can turn out to be more beneficial than just clearance for play.
"To tell you the truth, a lot of adolescence. The only doctor they ever see is a doctor at a screening like this," said Dr. Bob Terrell of Bienville Orthopedics.
Dr. Terrell sees thousands of students every year, and sometimes these exams serve as an unofficial check-up for the child. He said he has detected severe cardiovascular problems during a physical.
But, the primary reason for a screening is to approve an athlete for high school sports.
"You do find athletes who have been injured, you find athletes who have had a concussion, and there's reason to look at those athletes in addition to cardiovascular disease," said Terrell.
This annual event is organized by the staff of Bienville Orthopedics in connection with Encore Rehabilitation. CEO of Bienville Orthopedics,
Dean Thigpen, said it's the clinic's way of giving back to the community.
"It's our way of being involved in the high schools at the grass roots level and working with the students," he said.
Doctor Randy Roth of Singing River Health Systems, and Doctor Bill Streigle from Ocean Springs also helped out with the exams.