Across Massachusetts student athletes are preparing for the upcoming sports season. A vital step for many athletes and their families is the annual pre-participation physical exam to ensure it is safe for them to play. For many athletes, it’s a simple step, but for some athletes from underserved and BIPOC communities it can be challenging to access care, representing a major barrier and health risk to participating in sports.
Boston Public Schools recently received a grant from the Korey Stringer Institute to establish a year-round program to ensure that athletic trainers are available to their schools. Mass General Brigham, through its Sports Medicine Division, has been able to work with Boston Public Schools to provide athletic training and sports medicine services at a reduced cost to help close the gap with socio-economic and racial disparities that restrict access to health care. The partnership will help ensure students from Boston Public Schools receive the same access to comprehensive sports medicine and healthcare services as other students across the state. Athletic trainers from the Mass General Brigham Sports Medicine team have been providing care onsite through the Fall and Winter sports seasons as well as connecting students to the network of clinical services at Mass General Brigham including concussion management, orthopedic surgery, injury prevention, and rehabilitation services among others.
Mass General Brigham held Pre-participation physical exam events at Madison Park High School in Roxbury in September of 2021 and again in March of 2022. The team of over 40 volunteer physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, medical assistants, and administrators have performed more than 90 exams free of charge to families. In addition to the evaluation, several student athletes received COVID vaccines. Three student athletes were found to have conditions that required further care and were referred to Mass General Brigham providers to ensure they received the correct care plan.
“To be able to provide our student athletes and their families this important service and support through a world-leader in our own community is vital. The partnership between Boston Public Schools and Mass General Brigham Sports Medicine will be a huge boost to the wellness and safety for our student athletes and their families. We can’t wait to get on the field and get started,“ said Avery Esdaile, Athletic Director, Boston Public Schools.
This year’s season has been the first for Mass General Brigham Sports Medicine to the cover all sports seasons for Boston Public Schools which includes participation from over 2,000 student athletes.
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