CLARKSVILLE, Texas — Forty-five athletes from Clarksville Independent School District were screened on June 2 to ensure they’re healthy enough to participate in sports during the 2011-2012 school year.
The program, which is offered at no charge to the athletes or the schools, was begun by ETMC Clarksville general surgeon B.C. Muthappa, MD, and has been enthusiastically embraced by other local physicians. It is held on the second floor of ETMC Clarksville, where several nurses and other hospital staff members assist.
“I have been here 34 years, so we’ve done these screenings for 34 years,” he explained. “The other doctors became involved as they came on board.”
In addition to Dr. Muthappa, screenings were performed by Dr. Devabrata Ganguly and Dr. Angela Tseng. Every year, the physicians donate their time to screen approximately 50-70 student athletes. The state mandates that all seventh and ninth grade athletes—both boys and girls, representing all sports—undergo these screenings. The physicians and hospital staff also screen student athletes from the Detroit Independent School District every fall at the beginning of the school year.
“It’s not unusual for us to find something that indicates they need to follow up with their family doctor for additional care,” Dr. Muthappa said. “If the students aren’t screened, they can’t play.”
Dr. Muthappa explained that the physicians are screening the athletes for health concerns such as hernias, heart murmurs, lung issues and skin diseases, in addition to checking their vital signs and blood pressure.
“In screenings such as these, we can’t find every health problem they may have, but we can screen them for major underlying health problems that would prevent them from participating in sports. It’s a community service, and we’re happy to provide it.”