As fall season sports teams begin training, physical examinations become a priority for student athletes. However, sports physicals – which can cost up to $130 without health insurance – can be a financial burden for many families and can impede some students from participating in athletic activities.
To help out, Apex Medical Group in Los Banos will offer free sports physicals for children without coverage. Screenings will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the medical group’s office, at 311 W. I St.
Administrator Debbie Perry said the medical group has offered free sports physicals for children for the past seven years. She estimates that every year providers see 300 to 400 children from the Los Banos, Dos Palos and Gustine areas. The free exams are available for athletes from pee-wee level to high school athletics.
“It’s medically wise because children need physicals before playing sports; it’s a school requirement,” Perry said. “We’d hate to see a child not play because they don’t have coverage and their parents couldn’t afford the cost of a sports physical.”
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According to Perry, the idea of free screenings began when coaches of local high schools and youth city sports approached the medical group about providing these services for their athletes.
Dr. Karthikeya Devireddy, head of the Apex Medical Group, said offering these free examinations is his way of giving back to the community he has called home for the past 34 years.
“There are still a lot of kids who do not have health insurance,” Devireddy said. “This is a way for me to be a good citizen and help these children and their families.”
“Plus, they’ve become really popular in the community,” he added. “We’ve had a good response in past years, and we’re expecting more this year.”
Devireddy said there will be four physicians available to conduct the examinations.
A second round of free physicals will take place Aug. 7 and 8.