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Nearly $6,000 was donated to high schools, middle schools, and community athletic programs after this year's Sports Physicals Night, an annual event that offers affordable physicals to student-athletes. 

Student-athletes from middle schools and high schools throughout Harnett County, N.C., have the opportunity to obtain their sports physicals--and give back to their schools at the same time. The annual Sports Physicals Night hosted by Triangle Orthopaedic Associates, P.A., provides physicals to student-athletes for $10, which is then donated back to their school or organization.

Of the 15 Triangle Orthopaedic offices, six or seven are chosen to host the event, which runs from 6:00 to 8:00 on a mid-week evening. "We have 20 to 25 physicians and then probably another 20 to 25 physician's assistants who volunteer to come," says Triangle Sports Medicine Marketing Manager Brandon Sherrell. "But the entire practice helps with the event--even though it's voluntary to do so."

Advertising starts about a month in advance with e-mail messages and flyers sent to athletic directors and coaches. Sherrell and some of Triangle's athletic trainers that work with six local high schools also make personal visits. "And information about the Sports Physicals Night is placed in some of the advertising spots Triangle runs in newspapers and magazines," Sherrell says. 

Social media also plays a large role in spreading the word. "I make an announcement on our Facebook and Twitter pages a few weeks before the event," says Triangle Social Media Director Jon Baez. "Then I'll increase the frequency as it gets closer and during the week of the event, I post every day. The neat thing with social media is that we can interact directly with the schools and they do a great job spreading the word."

The Sports Physicals Night is streamlined in order to handle a large group of student-athletes. Upon arrival, student-athletes check in and receive a ticket to complete with their name and school. "We ask that they bring their school's forms and have them filled out before they arrive," Sherrell says. "Since they are minors, their parent or guardian needs to come with them or have the form signed to give us permission to complete the physical."

After checking in, their vital signs are taken. "Then the doctor sees them for the actual physical, checking their heart, lungs, and medical history to make sure they don't have any problems that need further examination," Sherrell says. "When that's done, they check out and receive a small thank you gift for coming--this year, we had lanyards with an ID holder."

Once all of the physicals are completed--there were nearly 600 this year--Sherrell calculates the total number of students from each school or organization and sends out the checks. "We donate 100 percent of the fees back to the schools and community groups," he says. "It's a win-win. It allows parents and coaches to see our facilities and meet our doctors. But it's also a good way for us to give back to the community and we enjoy it every year."



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