Chiropractors may now provide pre-participation sports physicals to children in the Wichita Falls Independent School District for all secondary grades.
The belated approval came Monday, just a few months after WFISD board members barred chiropractors from giving the same physicals.
Until Monday, WFISD approved only medical exams given by physicians, licensed physician assistants or registered nurse practitioners.
WFISD board members changed the policy in a 6-1 vote. Board member Allyson Flack cast the one dissenting vote.
The policy change became effective immediately, according to Kenny Catney, WFISD athletic director.
The new policy reflects the same rules practiced by the University Interscholastic League.
During the years, chiropractors have had an in-and-out relationship with WFISD, according to board member Reginald Blow. This was the second time in his tenure that he’s voted on letting chiropractors examine students.
In past years, chiropractors were approved to give sports physicals to junior high students only.
But during the 2012 summer, Catney urged board members to standardize the policy to treat students of all ages the same. He recommended that chiropractors be excluded from giving the exams to anyone.
Catney took his lead from a local physician who told board members that chiropractors are not trained in cardiovascular issues.
After board members unanimously voted to bar chiropractors from giving the physicals, a chiropractor requested in the next board meeting’s Open Forum to “hear our side.”
Catney returned to board members shortly afterward, asking them to approve chiropractors, which would align the WFISD policy with UIL rules.
With the prospect of a flip-flop decision, Flack requested that Catney bring representatives from the medical and chiropractic communities to Monday’s board meeting to answer questions, but none came Monday.
Flack told board members that her husband is a competent pathologist with a medical degree but she would not recommend him to give sports physicals because that’s not his job description. The same is true of chiropractors, she said.
“Chiropractors do a great job at what they do, but they are not the best for our students,” she said. “I disagree with changing the policy.”
Board member Kirk Wolfe disagreed with Flack, saying the inclusion of chiropractors would give parents increased choice. “They’ll have to make an informed decision. If their child plays golf versus football, it may not make as big a difference,” Wolfe said. “Personally, I’d have a physician do my child’s. I’d be concerned about a heart issue.”