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Our opinion: Take advantage of free screenings for area athletes

Every year in the United States, about 30 million children and teens participate in some form of organized sports.

According to the National SAFE KIDS campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities. The most common injuries are sprains and strains.

We encourage parents to take advantage of any opportunity to make sure their sports-playing children are in prime condition leading up to another year of games.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin will offering free sports qualifying physicals to area school athletes, grades sixth through 12th from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on June 7 in the Musculoskeletal Center, located on the lower level of the medical center, 1000 First Dr. NW, Austin.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea will provide free sports-qualifying physicals next week for athletes in grades six through 12.

At Health Reach from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, the screenings will be provided by Mayo Clinic Health System physicians and staff and will meet the requirements for participation in sports by the Minnesota State High School Leagues — though they are not intended to replace an annual physical exam.

Sports physical forms can be downloaded from the Minnesota State High School league website. For more information, please call the Austin High School Activities Office at 507-460-1825 or Ellis Middle School at 507-460-1500.