More than 900 Student Athletes Receive No-Cost Sports Physicals From Hawaii Keiki School Nurses

As Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) students headed back to school in the fall, many were looking forward to the new school year and participating in after school activities including athletics. Thanks to the Hawaii Keiki: Healthy & Ready to Learn Program (Hawaii Keiki) students in need of a sports physical to participate received no-cost health services from Hawaii Keiki and were cleared to train. This past summer and throughout the fall semester, Hawaii Keiki school nurses hosted sports physical events at several HIDOE high schools on Oahu, Kauai, Molokai and Hawaii Island, reaching more than 900 student athletes.

Hawaii keiki nurse doing a sports physical

“We always encourage families to reach out to their primary care provider. But many students have limited resources, no health insurance, or may be new to the island and have not yet identified a primary medical home,” said Michelle Chapman, Hawaii Keiki Nurse Practitioner (APRN) and Oahu Supervisor. “Offering a no-cost sports physical at their school campus decreases the barriers to healthcare access that student athletes and their families may face and allows those students the opportunity to participate in athletics which is important for both their physical and mental health.”

A sports physical is required for HIDOE high school student athletes to participate in practices and competition and is valid for one year. To participate in an upcoming Hawaii Keiki sports physical event, students and parents/guardians must register in advance, complete a Hawaii Keiki consent packet, and obtain a sports physical form from their athletic coach. Parent/guardian consent and signature is required before the appointment. Parents/guardians may attend the sports physical with their student, although it is not required.

Hawaii keiki nurse conducting a sports physical

During the sports physical, Hawaii Keiki nurse practitioners perform a physical exam to ensure that it is safe for the student athlete to participate in a sport. For student’s with certain medical conditions or chronic illnesses, nurses can provide guidance on how to play their sport safely in addition to referring them to a primary care provider for further evaluation and/or follow-up. Hawaii Keiki nurses also remind parents and students that a sports physical does not replace the annual physical and wellness check completed by their primary care providers.

“Due to the success and positive feedback from families, we are working with our Hawaii Keiki Nurse Practitioners (APRNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) to offer more no-cost sports physical events in Spring 2024,” said Hawaii Keiki Director of Clinical Operations, Kailene Oliveros. “We are excited to continue offering this service to public school student athletes, especially to those on our neighbor islands where healthcare access can be limited.”

Visit the Hawaii Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn website to learn more about the program.

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