Health Histories

September 4, 2012

Eighteen months ago we completed two new preparticipation physical examination forms:  (1) a two-sided card delivered without charge to schools in whatever quantity they need; and (2) a four-page form that is downloadable at

Both are improved from the previous card in that they ask more about family and student health history which, more than any cursory exam, helps identify potential health risks before participation.  Both were developed with the cooperation and consensus of a diverse panel of medical experts assembled by the Michigan Department of Community Health.

At schools’ requests, the MHSAA has distributed more copies of the two-sided card than there are students enrolled in MHSAA member schools; so we know the form has widespread use.  But still, this particular form is not required, which allows schools with a special local resource to utilize something they like better, and this also allows families with special needs to use the documents that best meet their child’s circumstances.

The take-away on this topic is that today’s standard of care is a comprehensive physical with detailed family history prior to first participation in school sports and, thereafter, more cursory annual exams, except when the student has had an injury or illness that requires more review.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.