Healthy Sportsmen's Fair prepares people for fall outdoor activities

September 30, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Heather Peck, right, and Shelby Knepper prepare Tom DeShong of McConnellsburg, Pa., for an EKG on Sunday during the Fulton County (Pa.) Medical Center Healthy Sportsmens Fair.
By Jennifer Fitch

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. — In the years Dr. Jeff Mandak has helped at the Fulton County (Pa.) Medical Center Healthy Sportsmen’s Fair and similar events, he has seen routine screenings for blood pressure and glucose occasionally reveal serious issues.

Some of the patients have undergone surgeries that same week for the conditions discovered through the free screenings.

“Those are people whose lives may have been saved directly from this event,” said Mandak, a cardiologist.

On Sunday, the Fulton County Medical Center hosted its 20th annual Healthy Sportsmen’s Fair for several hundred people. Fourteen free screenings included those for vision, hearing and cholesterol.

The fair is designed to benefit hunters and others who might be in the outdoors in coming months.

“We want to make sure they are prepared (for fall hunting). There is inactivity sometimes, then when you go out to hunt, you’re not used to all that walking and things like that,” said Misty Hershey, hospital spokeswoman.

Vendors included diabetes educators and representatives of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

“It’s especially (aiding) people who may not otherwise seek access to the health system,” Mandak said.

“A lot of people don’t go to the doctor as much as they should, so this is a way for them to get a couple screenings to know if anything is wrong. They can see their primary-care physician hopefully in the next week or so and talk about their screenings,” Hershey said.

The event does a good job of serving uninsured and underinsured individuals, she said.

Huntingdon County, Pa., resident David McClure was among the people in that group.

“He comes every year because he has health problems. He comes for the free EKG because we don’t have insurance,” said Sherry McClure, David’s wife.

David McClure, 63, said he had heart surgery at age 28 and again less than two years ago. He has been attending the sportsmen’s fair for many years.

Participants like Robert Helman, who took part in every available screening, could enter a raffle for an American Ruger rifle sponsored by McLaughlin’s Drug Store. Helman, who lives outside McConnellsburg, never visited the fair before.

“I thought it was all a good idea,” he said afterward.

“It’s well worth it,” said Verla Hill, a Needmore, Pa., resident who made the trip with her husband.

Dr. Joey Lane has provided vision screenings at the sportsmen’s fair since its inception.

“This may be the only eye care they get for a year or two,” Lane said.

On Sunday, one of the people he screened was a 5-year-old boy who confused an “L” with a “J” and a couple other letters on an eye chart.

“He’s struggling with his right eye. You should get that checked,” Lane said to the boy’s mother.

Representatives of “Backcountry Bad Boys,” a television program on WJAL, offered sandwiches made from boar killed in Florida. Show personality Troy Miller, who lives in Hustontown, Pa., said he takes children with terminal cancer hunting each year.

“It’s a weekend where they’re not worrying about what test they’re running or what treatment they’re getting,” Miller said.

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