Four members of the Athletic Trainers Society of New Jersey recently volunteered to help out Medfest 2012 at the Special Olympics headquarters in Lawrenceville, NJ. Directed by Jeffrey A Zlotnick MD CAQ FAAFP, past president of NJ Academy of Family Physicians, coordinates physicians and athletic trainers in an effort to provide comprehensive physical examinations for special Olympic athletes.
“Medfest started 8 or 9 years ago when the Special Olympics approached me and asked if we could do a physical on these athletes. As with any population, we are looking for problems that would put that at risk for participating. Cardiovascular and musculo-skeletal are the most common risks, and this is pretty much the same as the general population. However, this group tends to have much more complex neurological and behavioral problems and some physical disabilities. Our job is to document what the problems are and what limitations they may have and then let Special Olympics using their "Adaptive Sports Program" and figure out what they can participate in within those limits” remarks Zlotnick.
Members from the ATSNJ have been helping with Medfest for the past 5 years and have been involved in the musculoskeletal screening process for over 400 Special Olympic athletes over the years. This year’s event was extremely productive as we provided examinations for over 100 Special Olympic athletes.