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A helping hand

A program offered through a local physician and hospital helped determine the health of young athletes and saved schools a significant amount of money.

Dr. Anthony Tropeano and Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital offered free physicals to all the area football teams this week, a program the coaches gladly embraced.

“It’s certainly helpful,” Sunshine High School coach Jonathan Jenkins said. “We would have had to travel twice as far to have our physicals done otherwise.”

For a small program like Sunshine, the no-cost physicals were a godsend.

“Larger programs could maybe afford to go farther away, but as a smaller school, we could not. This was really helpful to us.”

As the players lined up along one hallway, their height, weight, and blood pressure were recorded before they saw Tropeano for the full examination.

“We check their general health, and check to see if there were any major injuries,” Tropeano said between patients. “If there were, then it’s OK, let’s see how the recovery is coming.”

The doctor and hospital donated five or six hours to the project, Danielle Tropeano — the doctor’s wife and nurse practitioner — said.

“We put it out there with all the teams in the county,” Tropeano said.

Wednesday, John Essex, Sunshine and Demopolis high schools took advantage of the offer.

“It’s difficult to get all the kids to get their physicals individually,” Demopolis coach Tom Causey said. “The way it was done in the past, the players would go into a doctor’s office and the doctor would work them in when he could, so the player might be waiting a couple of hours.”

But things moved smoothly on Wednesday.

“”The timing of this was really good,” Causey said, “and the no charge was really great.”

And the athletes and coaches are grateful.

“What Dr. Tropeano did was unbelievable for all th our local athletes,” Causey said.

But something that may be even more important for area teams is the free Saturday morning clinic for injuries suffered by football players on Friday nights.

The clinic will be hosted at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital as well.