Jamaica's premier sports and exercise medicine professionals

Periodic Health Evaluation Screen for student athletes

Periodic Health Evaluation Screen for student athletes in the county of Surrey
by the Jamaica Association of Sports Medicine (JASM) held on Saturday, March

18, 2023

As a special outreach to our athletes the JASM has embarked on a new programme
where we offer health fairs doing Periodic Health Evaluations for underserved
athletes across the country. These Health Fairs, seek to offer young athletes an
opportunity to have medical and functional assessments, such as ECGs, sight and
strength tests done as part of a holistic evaluation which may identify any medical
or physical factors that puts the athlete at risk for sudden death and/or physical
injury while playing sports.
Our first Health Fair that was held in Montego Bay on September 3, 2022, at the
Montego Bay Community College where we screened approximately 50 athletes
from schools in the Western end of the island.
Our follow-up event in the series was held on Saturday, March 18, 2023, for the
county of Surrey, at Stephanie Hall, Holy Childhood High from 8am-5pm. At this
health fair we welcomed JADCO, to give anti-doping talks and information to our
student athletes and The Lions Club of Kingston, who offered sight testing for all the
persons on hand, as well as Wisynco, who sponsored our beverages.

For the day we screened approximately 40 students from the Eastern end of the
island from 5 schools. By all accounts the day was a success, with many of the
athletes themselves, as well as coaches and parents present spoke of the need for
such medical screens to be done and how important it was to know the health status
of their charges as they compete in high level sporting activities.

Our next event later in the year will target student athletes in county of Middlesex.
For any further information or questions,

Jamaica Association of Sports Medicine (JASM) Inaugural Periodic Health Evaluation Fair September 3, 2022 Montego Bay Community College

The Jamaica Association of Sports Medicine (JASM), is a multi-disciplinary body of practitioners
whose primary objective is to provide care to all persons who participate in sports. With over 40
years of providing service to all levels of athletes across the island, our members have distinguished
themselves through training and experience. As part of our outreach mandate, we decided to
organise a series of health fairs across the island with the main aim being to perform Pre-
Participation or Periodic Health Evaluations (PPEs/PHEs). These evaluations seek to identify athletes
at risk for serious or life-threatening medical events, as well as, physical injuries prior to their
participation in sporting activities. It was decided that our high school athletes, who are often times
underserved with regards to early medical and physical therapy intervention, were the best group to
engage for this new initiative.
The first event in the series was held at the Montego Bay Community College Auditorium on
Saturday, September 3, 2022. There were a total of 50 participants from 4 institutions, including
Cornwall College, Green Island High, Muschette High and Montego Bay Community College. The
day’s activities, co-ordinated by the Western Branch of the JASM and facilitated by members of the
JASM from across Jamaica, included musculoskeletal, medical and heart evaluations. The
musculoskeletal assessments, which included strength, joint range of motion and functional
movements – jumps, squats, push-ups and sit-ups were performed by our member physiotherapists,
while some of our medical doctors were on hand to basic medical assessments and echocardiograms
(ECGs) and offer any relevant advice and recommendations. Referrals for any further or follow-up
management were also made on the day. The athlete’s vital signs, height and weight were recorded
and information relevant to the safe practice of sports was disseminated throughout the day.
These healthcare services provided to the athletes were done free of cost to the students by our
association, along with the help of our sponsor, the Milo Western Relays.
By all accounts the day was a success and the coaches really appreciated our efforts as some were
unable to afford to have these important and timely assessments done for their athletes. Two more
fairs are being planned for 2023, one in the Middlesex County and one for Surrey and we hope to
make these fairs annual events as we seek to increase our reach and visibility to the sporting
community in Jamaica.

One of the coaches assisting his athletes with registration


Vitals signs being measured


Athlete’s height being recorded



Manual muscle testing for the upper limbs


Series of functional tests being carried out, including single-leg squat, push-ups and sit-ups


One of our medical doctors setting up an athlete for an ECG


Medical assessments by some of our medical doctors on hand


Some of our participants enjoying receiving their refreshments after they completed their evaluations


Some of the volunteers on hand for the event


SPORTS MEDICINE: In 2021, expect the unexpected

The Green Bay Packers, for most of this season, have been on a seemingly unstoppable march to a date with the AFC champion on Feb. 7 in Tampa, Florida.

Everything has been coming together, including an MVP-caliber season by quarterback Aaron Rogers. A primary reason for Rogers’ success has been the protection he has been receiving on his blind side from left tackle David Bakhtiari.

The 29-year-old Colorado product was a fourth-round pick in 2013, has been an All-Pro each of the last four years and is the third-longest tenured player on the Green Bay roster.

For all those accomplishments, Bakhtiari was rewarded by the Packers in November with a four-year, $92 million contract extension, $61.5M of which is guaranteed. In all, the contract is the richest ever for an offensive lineman.

While practicing for Sunday’s game with the Bears, Bakhtiari suffered a torn ACL. His season is over; next season is in doubt; and, if and when he does return – which is very likely, performance at pre-injury levels is far from guaranteed.

A similar story unfolded last week at the college level.

Miami of Florida quarterback D’Eriq King — a transfer from Houston — was having a banner season coming into the Cheez-It Bowl with Oklahoma State: 22 touchdown passes, four touchdown runs, only five interceptions, 2,573 passing yards, and 520 rushing yards.

With this season not counting against any collegian’s eligibility, as the Hurricanes prepped for the Cowboys, King announced he would be returning in 2021 for a sixth college season. Clearly, he was hoping the extra year would improve his stock in the 2022 NFL draft.

During the second quarter of last Tuesday’s game, though, King was scrambling to his right when he took a hard hit to the front of his right knee and did not get up. Video replay showed the actual reason King required medical attention. Trying to avoid the hit, King made a sudden cut but when he planted his right foot, the right knee buckled — before it was hit.

Moments later, my physical therapist/athletic trainer son texted me, “classic non-contact ACL.”

Last Thursday, Miami announced that King had indeed suffered a torn ACL, would need surgery, but was expected to be ready for the start of fall training camp.

That is a very optimistic timetable for King. Ditto for Bakhtiari, if there is any thought of him following the same schedule. Multiple studies strongly suggest that return to sport following ACL reconstruction should be no sooner than nine months and only after the surgical knee displays at least 90% of the strength and performance abilities of the uninjured side. Attaining that number is difficult and rare in any time less than a full year. Returning any sooner than 12 months and/or at less than 90% increases the chances of another ACL tear — to either knee — significantly.

So much for best laid plans.

Bakhtiari, ranking third among current Packers in time with the team at only eight years, illustrates the transient nature of NFL participation. Few professional athletes end their playing careers voluntarily. Instead, most exit thanks to unexpected injury and/or reduced performance.

Or illness.

That appears to be the culprit with Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, 32, who will not be in training camp this week, afflicted with unexplained — so far — lethargy and fatigue. Not the start to the season the Blackhawks were planning and only complicated further by Kirby Dach and Alex Nylander also being absent, thanks to wrist and knee injuries, respectively.

The other tenants of the United Center have also been bitten by illness and in greater numbers. At least they know the cause. Four Bulls were missing from Thursday’s and Friday’s games, going through the NBA’s “health and safety protocols.” Undoubtedly, they had tested positive for COVID-19 or had come in close contact with someone who did.

NHL and NBA teams out of their bubbles should be prepared for such sudden absences to be as commonplace as they have been in the NFL. And they will continue until the availability of COVID-19 vaccines becomes widespread, which is unlikely before late spring or early summer. Until then, teams at all levels and their fans — more than ever — should expect the unexpected.

Sports medicine leader promotes virus protocol

While football leagues around Europe are still debating whether and when to resume playing amid the coronavirus pandemic, the leader of the continent’s Federation of Sports Medicine Associations is calling for a detailed series of tests to clear athletes before they return to training.

Maurizio Casasco, who is also president of the Italian Federation of Sports Medicine, said guidelines recently published by his domestic federation should be extended for all of Europe – especially if UEFA intends to resume the Champions League and Europa League anytime soon.

“There needs to be a common protocol,” Casasco said in an interview with The Associated Press. “At both the national and European level, if there’s a competition being contested the rules have to be the same for everyone. … And not only for football but for all pro sports.”

The protocol developed by the Italian federation starts by dividing athletes into two categories: Group One for those who have already tested positive for the virus or shown symptoms associated with it; Group Two for those who haven’t tested positive, including athletes who were in contact with people who tested positive but who remained asymptomatic.

First, athletes in both groups will be tested for the virus. Athletes who test negative will also be tested for immunity – and athletes shown not to be immune will be retested every four days.

Athletes in Group One then have to pass strength tests while at rest, during and after physical exertion. Next up is a doppler echocardiogram, then a Holter monitor (a 24-hour echocardiogram), followed by spirometry breathing tests, a full range of blood exams, a lung X-ray and, finally, clearance that the athlete is no longer infected.