The physicians - and one medical student - from the Brody School of Medicine performed physicals on 38 athletes at Elm Street Gym, many of them school-age, to make sure their bodies are ready for their events.
"Every individual deserves the opportunity to strive to perfect their skills in some form and fashion," said Dr. Joseph Garry, director of the sports medicine fellowship at ECU and one of the doctors who performed the physicals. "Special Olympics is one such venue for many athletes, and our participation serves to help them participate to their fullest."
Doctors in the sports medicine division of the ECU Department of Family Medicine have performed the physicals since 2001 and perform them twice a year. Before that, retired physicians in the community volunteered to provide the physicals. ECU's involvement helps make it possible for the physicals for school-age athletes to be done during the school day with school transportation, so parents don't have to take time off from work and schedule appointments with doctors.
"It helps out the athletes a lot because those who wouldn't be able to go to the doctor and get the physicals, they can go during school," said Deirtra Crandol, Special Olympics Pitt County coordinator and a recreation supervisor for Greenville Parks and Recreation.
Athletes are required to have a physical once every three years.
The athletes' next chance to perform in a major event will be April 1 at Special Olympics Pitt County's Spring Games, to be held at J.H. Rose High School. Pitt County has approximately 500 active Special Olympics participants.
The ECU Department of Family Medicine and its sports medicine division are platinum sponsors of Special Olympics Pitt County.