KYCOM’s mission of service extends to UPIKE athletes

University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) maintains a mission of service to Central Appalachia that includes students on UPIKE’s campus. KYCOM student physicians are now providing pre-participation sports physical exams for UPIKE’s student-athletes.

“Not only is this a good learning experience for our osteopathic medical students, but it brings undergraduate students into the medical school to interact with our students, faculty and family medicine residents from Pikeville Medical Center,” said Dana Shaffer, D.O., FACOFP, dist., FAOGME, dean of KYCOM.

From baseball and archery to soccer and volleyball, student physicians give UPIKE’s most talented athletes the green light to begin the season. Over the past year, KYCOM student physicians and faculty have performed nearly 500 physicals. Overseeing the program is Antoinette Justice, D.O., assistant professor of family medicine and osteopathic principles and practices at KYCOM.

“This activity is important because it provides KYCOM students an opportunity to practice their physical examination skills on ‘real patients,’” said Justice. “While providing a critical service to student-athletes we can also continue our close relationship with the athletic trainers and coaches on UPIKE’s campus.”

Second-year medical student Jonathon Kuo noted the program’s benefits for both athletes and
KYCOM students. “The sports physicals are an introduction to clinical experiences for us as medical students,” said Kuo. “For the most part we are learning in the classroom our first two years of medical school, so this program allows us a different way of learning and helps us prepare for our third and fourth years where we will be on rotations every day.”

Along with providing a hands-on opportunity for learning, the physicals are vitally important in promoting wellness among UPIKE athletes.

“While athletes are typically in great health, they are also often in situations that put stress on their bodies,” said Kuo. “The physicals are important to make sure these athletes have no medical conditions that could put them at risk while training or competing.”

In addition to listening to their heart and lungs and checking blood pressure, student physicians also pay close attention to conditions like asthma as well as injuries that may put the athletes at risk.

For more information about KYCOM, call 606-218-5250.