Health Officials, Schools Continue Strong Focus on Student Athlete Safety
ST. CLOUD -- With fall sports underway and winter sports gearing up for the season it's never to late to make sure your child receives a proper check up.
Concerns over a child's health when playing sports has grown over the last few years with increasing reports of concussions or sudden deaths while playing sports.
Erich Martens is the Sauk Rapid-Rice High School Principal and former President on the Minnesota State High School Lead Board of Directors. He says schools continue to educate their coaches on being prepared if something should happen.
"Coaches across the state, and the nation, are more aware of their student athletes and symptoms they might be having or things they see on the practice field, court or wherever they may be," says Martens.
In Minnesota, student athletes are required to have a physical every three years starting in 7th grade. However, some medical experts say that may not be enough.
Wendi Johnson is a Pediatrician with CentraCare Health and is trained in Sports Medicine. She says yearly physicals are more beneficial as their body continues to change.
"The exams should be done every year, that's how we are going to detect the changes in your child's body. Most of them are not going to be life threatening but it's our job to be looking for those that can be," says Johnson.
Johnson says extreme situations, such as the death of the 14-year-old youth hockey player in 2014, are rare. Out of the 8-million student athletes that participate in sports only about 150 students per year may be affected.
Martens says the Minnesota State High School league continues to make necessary improvements in every sport for continued student safety.