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The Center Foundation’s ‘OK to Play’ checkup initiative returns for third year

The Center Foundation has been providing free medical care on the field of play for student athletes
The Center Foundation
The Center Foundation has been providing free medical care on the field of play for student athletes

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Returning for its third year, The Center Foundation’s “OK to Play” initiative encourages students to visit their primary care provider for an annual checkup (also known as a well child visit) to prepare for team sports and activities.

Instead of a standalone sports physical, annual checkups are recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics and include a physical health and development assessment, preventative care plans, screening for stress, anxiety and risky behavior as well as a sports physical. This initiative is made possible by grant funding from the Central Oregon Health Council.

“The Center Foundation has been providing free medical care on the field of play for student athletes for 20 years,” said Sonja Donohue, executive director for The Center Foundation. “Knowing that students have benefited from a comprehensive health and wellness exam prior to participating in sports provides more robust care at no additional cost. Our goal is to ensure students and their families are aware of this incredible benefit.”

As part of the “OK to Play” program, The Center Foundation is coordinating outreach to pediatric and primary care physicians throughout Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties. Many physicians and clinics throughout Central Oregon have committed to the “OK to Play” initiative and a higher standard of care for Central Oregon youth. The Oregon Schools Activities Association (OSAA) requires that students provide completed School Sports Pre-Participation Examination paperwork prior to participating in OSAA sanctioned sports. The program includes providing materials, messaging and clearance forms to student athletes and parents.

“Having a sports physical as a standalone visit with a provider that you don’t usually see has its limitations,” says Donna Mills, Executive Director for Central Oregon Health Council. “A sports physical is a screening tool for sports participation, but should not be a replacement for an overall health and wellness check-up. Annual check-ups include preventative health and immunizations, vision and hearing screenings, growth and developmental milestones, and important discussions about stress, anxiety, and depression. For optimal health, teens should have a check-up with a primary care provider each year.”

Most insurance plans cover annual well child visits, including the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). Standalone sports physicals are limited in scope and can result in an additional cost to families.

For more information visit

About The Center Foundation
The Center Foundation is celebrating 20 years of providing certified athletic trainers to Central Oregon high schools. Its high school sports medicine program serves more than 5,000 students at over 1,400 sporting events each year, managing injuries and concussions and educating young athletes on injury prevention. These services are provided at no cost to students or their families. Foundation programs also deliver brain and spinal cord injury prevention education in grade schools, free multi-sport helmets to children in need, and education seminars and conferences for healthcare professionals. Since 2000, The Center Foundation has been Central Oregon’s only nonprofit solely dedicated to providing sports medicine services as a means to ensure youth are safe, healthy, and protected in an active lifestyle. To learn more, visit

About Central Oregon Health Council

Central Oregon Health Council (COHC) is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt public and private community governance entity. The COHC is dedicated to improving the health of the region and providing oversight of the Medicaid population and Coordinated Care Organization (CCO). Created by Senate Bill 204 in 2011, COHC promotes the health of the region’s residents and seeks to achieve the Triple Aim of improving health outcomes, increasing satisfaction with the health system, and reducing cost. To learn more visit


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