Physical therapy groups may work with sports programs
Health care providers representing two physical therapy groups pitched ideas for working with the Fairfield school district athletic/sports programs to the school board Monday.
Donal Hill, D.O., affiliated with Jefferson County Health Center, laid the groundwork.
“I grew up in Fairfield and appreciate the school district and school board,” said Hill. “I have a concern about health care in the school sports programs. It is important to have trained personnel available for games and practices.”
The Fairfield schools have had local physicians volunteer to be at practices and games, but it may be time to have another plan, said Hill.
“We’re getting older and there’s fewer of us,” he said. “Who’s going to take over for the school system? I think it’s time to start evaluating working with a physical therapy group. We can make the transition with a physical therapist working with me.”
Hill said the community has two groups of physical therapists and both are good.
“Of course, I’m weighted toward the group from Jefferson County Health Center,” said Hill.
He introduced Hannah Keller and Lilly Wells from Rehab Visions at JCHC physical therapy department.
Keller is a certified athletic trainer and holds a doctorate in physical therapy.
“I would be the contact person for Fairfield High School,” she said. “I feel it’s an important part of being a professional to give back to the community.”
Wells is the rehabilitation director and also holds a doctorate in physical therapy.
“I mentioned this partnership to hospital CEO Deb Cardin, and she will talk with the hospital foundation to cover the expenses,” said Wells.
School board president Jennifer Anderson asked what the cost to the district would be to have physical therapists attend sports practices and games.
“No cost,” said Wells. “We have three physical therapists and two are really into sports. We also have four physical therapy assistants.”
Hill said the hospital foundation is very proactive in contributing to the community.
The PT department at JCHC also is open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Board members who have and have had student athletes said that would be a good addition to services. Previously, after Friday night events, anyone with injuries drove to a clinic in Iowa City, which was first-come, first-served at 8 a.m.
Adam Conilogue from Universal Therapy Group in Fairfield also spoke to the board about providing PT services/oversight to the school’s sports program.
“We’ve been providing services to the school informally through the athletic director’s office throughout the past year,” said Conilogue. “I’d like to continue. We’ve provided afternoon screenings at the schools and covered for wrestling tournaments.
“We’ve provided these services at a nominal fee,” said Conilogue. “I feel the district can benefit from our services. I’m willing to negotiate. I’ve talked with Jeff Courtright [district activities director] and maybe we can share coverage with the Jefferson County Health Center physical therapists.”
Conilogue said he and his wife, also a physical therapist, moved to Fairfield and opened practice a year ago.
He has a doctorate of physical therapy and a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology and health promotion. He has advanced training through the sports section of the American Physical Therapy Association and is working to earn a sports certified specialist
designation through the association. Conilogue also is certified as an Emergency Medical Responder through American Red Cross.
“I have extensive experience in the care and treatment of injured athletes,” he said.
He included a handout outlining services Universal Therapy Group, which in addition to his wife has a physical therapist assistant, and plans to hire another, could provide to the school district.
Suggested fees include $25 per game and $100 per tournament day or multiple game/match setting to provide a licensed physical therapist or athletic trainer providing coverage at events. The rates are negotiable and subject to change.
He also offered no charge for one hour per week of injury screening and basic treatment such as taping, at the high school. The practice also is offering free-of-charge injury screening services on an as-needed basis for any school athlete at its office.
Universal Therapy Group agrees to provide professional liability insurance coverage.
Board members discussed both physical therapy providers, and even though one is free and one has fees, it was the general consensus to probably use both services.