CON, CAHP offer free screenings Sept. 8 for Special Olympics athletes

by Vicky Cerino
August 20, 2018

Image with caption: Mary Girard, College of Nursing Kearney Division

Mary Girard, College of Nursing Kearney Division

Students and faculty from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing Kearney Division and UNMC College of Allied Health Professions in Kearney, are offering free sports screenings for current and new athletes who plan to compete in the Special Olympics.

The event, called West Central MedFest, is open to athletes from the Kearney, Grand Island and Hastings areas who plan to compete in the Special Olympics. It will take place Sept. 8, from 8 a.m. to noon in the Health Science Education Complex on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus, 2402 University Drive. The building is equipped with exam rooms used in student education for UNMC health science programs.

The health screenings allow athletes to be eligible to compete in the 19 different sports that Special Olympics Nebraska offers year-round. Competitions are held throughout the state for regional and state events. Central City will host the State Equestrian competition Sept. 9 and Kearney will host a Unified bowling competition at Big Apple Lanes Oct. 13.

UNMC nursing and allied health students will benefit through both the educational and service experience.

"This is an opportunity that serves the community while allowing students from the UNMC health sciences program to grow their knowledge," said Mary Girard, nursing instructor, who facilitates the accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing program at the UNMC College of Nursing Kearney Division. "The clients we are hoping to serve may have limited access to care. If any abnormalities or high risk conditions are identified during the screenings, we’ll be able to refer them to a local provider for follow up."

Ten students in the UNMC physician assistant students, 42 physical therapy students and nine students in the UNMC accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing program from Kearney, will participate in head-to-toe assessments. Included will be vision and hearing screenings, vital signs, physical examination and education on issues, such as healthy eating and stretching before activities.

Joining the students will be physician assistant faculty members, Mia Hyde and Jannelle Reynolds, physical therapy faculty Tessa Wells, Teresa Cochran and Kellie Gossman, as well as nursing faculty Girard and Nancy Stuart.

Pre-registration is encouraged. To pre-register, go to For more information, contact Alisa Hoffman, or 402-331-5545 extension 22.

We are Nebraska Medicine and UNMC. Our mission is to lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities through premier educational programs, innovative research and extraordinary patient care.


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