The Jamaica Association of Sports Medicine (JASM) recently organised a series of health fairs across the island with the main aim, it says, being to perform pre-participation or periodic health evaluations.
JASM, a multi-disciplinary body of practitioners who provide care to all persons in sport, sought to identify athletes at risk for serious or life-threatening medical events, as well as physical injuries prior to their participation in sporting activities. JASM says that high school athletes, who are oftentimes under-served with regards to early medical and physical therapy intervention, were the best group to engage for this new initiative.
The first event in the series was held at the Montego Bay Community College Auditorium on Saturday, September 3. There were 50 participants from four institutions, including Cornwall College, Green Island High, Muschett High, and Montego Bay Community College. The day's activities, coordinated by the western branch of the JASM and facilitated by members of the JASM from across Jamaica, included musculoskeletal, medical and heart evaluations. The musculoskeletal assessments, which included strength, joint range of motion and functional movements â€“ jumps, squats, push-ups and sit-ups were performed by JASM's member physiotherapists, while some of its medical doctors performed basic medical assessments and echocardiograms, as well as relevant advice and recommendations. Referrals for any further or follow-up management were also made on the day. The athlete's vital signs, height, and weight were recorded and information relevant to the safe practice of sports was disseminated throughout the day.
These health-care services provided to the athletes were done free of cost to the students, with assistance from sponsors, the Milo Western Relays.
JASM considers the day a success and says the coaches appreciated its efforts as some were unable to afford to have these assessments done for their athletes. Two more fairs are being planned for Middlesex and Surrey next year.
JASM says it hopes to make these fairs annual events as it seeks to increase its reach and visibility to the sporting community in Jamaica.