Nov 16, 2018Sweetwater Union School District opens wellness center
Last week, the Sweetwater Union (Calif.) High School District opened a new 3,000 square foot facility. A Sports Medicine and Wellness Center that’s open to all students takes up 800 of those square feet.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Charles Camarata, MD, a family medicine physician, along with Mike Stein, PT, owner of Manual Orthopedic Physical Therapy, have provided free clinics for the district’s athletes every Saturday for 30 years, and have more recently started holding clinics during the week. But the new facility allows them to expand hours of operation.
“On the average we see 10 to 15 athletes each Saturday in all sports,” said Dr. Camarata. “This is the first year we’ve added clinics from 3 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Wellness Center. All the student-athlete has to do is go online to make an appointment to be seen on Tuesday to have their injuries evaluated.”
Ten years ago, Dr. Camarata convinced the district to start a sports medicine class. At its inception, there was only one class with one athletic trainer at one district high school. Now, there are 43 classes at various campuses with a total of 1,900 students, and each of the district’s 12 schools has a full-time athletic trainer.
“Our primary goal is to help these student-athletes get healthy and back to their sport,” Dr. Camarata said. “But the clinics also help teach other doctors. We have two orthopedic fellows from Kaiser and one family physician fellow from [University of California] San Diego. To get certified in sports medicine there is a requirement to attend entry training, practical training, which we provide. They see an injury and make a diagnosis (under the watchful eye of physicians like Camarata).”
Dr. Camarata said he hopes to add another sports medicine course next year, so that the students taking the classes can practice their skills at medical facilities in the community. He also wants student-athletes to take a baseline computer test as freshmen to both gather data that can help determine return to play and educate parents about concussions. The new center could help with both of these objectives.
“I’m excited about the new district facility,” Dr. Camarata said. “It’s a big step forward.”