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Adventist Health Howard Memorial Offers Free Sports Physicals and Back to School Fair


Tuesday, July 17, 2018 (Willits, CA) – Besides shopping for new clothes, backpacks, and other supplies, parents and students have an ever more important item on the to do list before going back to school: the sports physical.

To make it easy and convenient for parents and students to check it off the list, Adventist Health Howard Memorial (AHHM) is offering free sports physicals to all students in Mendocino County on July 21 and 28 from 8:00 a.m. to Noon. 

A sports physical is required by California schools before a child can join in any school sports and is aimed problems that might pose a health hazard — such as a hernia, untreated asthma, an undiagnosed heart condition or concussion injury.

For local physician John Glyer, MD, these exams are also a chance to make sure students are generally healthy and don’t have underlying conditions that will prevent them from participating in sports.

“It’s important especially for those who are first time athletes. During these exams, we ask a lot of screening questions to help us identify potential health issues that may preclude kids from playing sports or make them more prone to accidents or injuries when they’re playing. And sometimes we discover conditions that would have never been diagnosed otherwise,” he explains. 

“Aside from that, we want to ensure that they are safe and healthy so that they can have a great experience,” shares Glyer, a family medicine specialist, who has been caring for children and adults in the community for over 30 years.

Dr. Glyer cautions however, that while sports physicals meet all the requirements for participation in sports, they are not intended to replace annual, comprehensive physical exams. Annual exams are recommended for all children to ensure overall health. 

Since the cost of getting ready for school can add up, AHHM started offering free sports physicals five years ago, in line with its mission of inspiring health, wholeness and hope. Jason Wells, Adventist Health Howard Memorial president recognizes the importance of keeping children active and healthy and giving them the opportunity to excel in sports. He explains, “Childhood obesity is a significant challenge in Mendocino County and the Howard team is committed to being a part of the solution. We certainly don’t want the cost of a sports physical to be a barrier to anyone who desires an active lifestyle by playing sports.”

Along these lines, the hospital is also adding other free health screenings and services through a back to school fair to help give children a healthy start to the school year on July 21. The hospital has partnered with other local organizations and businesses to offer free vision screening, dental education, diabetes screening, backpacks and free haircuts. Little Lake Health Center’s dental team and the Tooth Fairy will be educating children on how to take care of their teeth for overall health. 

A team from local salon Mirror Mirror on the Wall and It Takes Two to Tangle will be providing free haircuts to all students. Judy Coughlin, who has been in business in Willits for 28 years, shares why she’s doing this for the community.   “First impressions are big on the first day back to school. We want our children to stand tall and feel good about themselves and be ready to start the school year. For someone who’s going to school for the first time, it’s a much-needed confidence-booster!” Appointments are not needed for free haircuts but will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis. 

The Back to School fair (including free haircuts and other screenings) will only be offered on July 21. But free sports physicals will be offered over two weekends, July 21 and July 28 from 8:00 to Noon at the clinic across from the hospital, at 3 Marcela Drive in Willits. Walk-ins are also welcome. For more information, or to make an appointment for a sports physical, please call (707) 456-3185.

To make an appointment for more comprehensive, annual physical exams with a primary care provider, call the Adventist Health Howard Memorial Medical Office at (707) 459-6115.  



About Adventist Health Howard Memorial (formerly Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital) is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 80 communities on the West Coast and Hawaii. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides care in hospitals, clinics, home care agencies, hospice agencies and joint-venture retirement centers in both rural and urban communities. Our compassionate and talented team of 35,000 includes associates, medical staff physicians, allied health professionals and volunteers driven in pursuit of one mission: living God's love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope. Together, we are transforming the American healthcare experience with an innovative, yet timeless, whole-person focus on physical, mental, spiritual and social healing. Visit www.adventisthealth/howard-memorial for more information.