Wildcat Nurses Help Underserved Middle School Students Participate in School Sports

Aug. 23, 2018

On Friday, August 15, University of Arizona College of Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor Theresa E. Allison, DNP, FNP-C, led a group of UA CON Nurse Practitioner Faculty to provide sports physicals to underserved children at the Roberts Naylor K-8 School.

A majority of Roberts Naylor students are from low-income backgrounds, which means their parents are unable to afford to pay out of pocket for a sports physical, a requirement from the State of Arizona for any middle to high school students who wish to participate in sports.  Thanks to Dr. Allison and her team, students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in sports received the necessary screening.

Roberts Naylor K-8

“It’s a head-to-toe physical exam,” says Dr. Allison. “With a focus on heart and musculoskeletal systems, listening and looking for any abnormalities which could cause serious medical problems if not detected before they played a sport.”

The physicals are particularly beneficial, she points out, because by getting children active and interested in sports helps them both physically and mentally. “Hopefully this pattern continues into high school and potentially be an avenue to get a college scholarship and allow them get a higher education,” she says.

“The fact that amazing individuals came to our school to give free physicals to our students means so much to our students and community." ~ Principal Bernadette Rosthenhausler-Espinoza, Roberts Naylor K-8

Judith Burrola, UA College of Nursing administrative assistant and part of the team that assisted with the physicals, has a special connection to the project. “I attended Naylor Middle School in 1995 and was one of the students that could not play sports due to not being able to pay for a physical exam,” she says. “It meant a lot to be a part of this event and see students receive the physicals that they need so they can be a part of sports that they are passionate about.”   

UA College of Nursing

Principal Bernadette Rosthenhausler-Espinoza also had nothing but warm words for the service the UA CON provides to her students. “The fact that amazing individuals came to our school to give free physicals to our students means so much to our students and community ,” she says. “We have many parents from other countries and parents who want their children to play in interscholastic sports but the fact is, many of our parents don't have transportation or resources to get physicals for their children. This is the first year that we are able to begin with interscholastics specifically volleyball and basketball. Because of your community service we now have a cheerleading squad as well. The physicals and participation in sports will create pride within our school, it will create a sense of team, unification of a student body and  individual student-athletes who are striving to better themselves.”