JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
FREDERICKSBURG — Helping athletes quickly recover from injuries is the goal of several orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists at Hill Country Memorial. The desire to comfort, heal and assist is why they donate their time to ensure athletes in need don’t have to pay for those services.
“All staff members are volunteers,” said Dr. Clay Holland, director of therapy services at the hospital’s rehab center. “They want to take care of folks. The cornerstone of everything we do is our community. If you can’t take care of your friends and neighbors, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do.”
He said the facility has been offering these services longer than he’s been a member of the staff, which is four years.
The free evaluation for high school and middle school students is 7:30-9:30 a.m. Saturdays Aug. 27-Nov. 5, and is on a first-come, first-served basis at the hospital, 1020 Texas 16 South in Fredericksburg. Athletes must be accompanied by a legal guardian, and if an injury requires an X-ray, splinting, casting or other needs, those extras require payment.
The hospital chose this age group is because “those are the kids who are going to get hurt,” Holland said.
He noted that as students get older, they get bigger, stronger and faster. They’ve fine-tuned their technique on tackling and have gotten braver in wanting to make the challenging plays.
“A 200-pound kid … if he is hit on the side of the knee, they’ll do damage,” Holland said.
The evaluations are thorough, he said, and athletes leave with instructions to pass on to their coaches and school trainers.
Though the service is offered during the football season, it’s open to any student participating in extracurricular activities, including cheerleading, drill team, band, swimming, volleyball, golf, tennis and cross country.
“Games are on Thursdays or Fridays,” Holland said. “We can give exams on Saturday. So if there’s a problem, we’re trying to fix it. On Monday, if you call in, you might not be able to see a doctor for awhile.”
Holland said children and sports are the foundation of communities, so it’s important to him and his colleagues to help student-athletes perform at their best.
“All kids who come on Saturday, we want to get them better and get them back on the field,” he said. “That’s the goal. We want to keep kids happy and healthy and on the field of what they want to do. This is a passion of ours.”
Call the rehab center at (830) 997-1357 for more information.