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Meet Dr. Charles Camarata and the Southwest Sports Wellness Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Charles Camarata.

The Southwest Sports Wellness Foundation (SWSWF) was established in 2010. The story really began back in 1964 when Dr. Camarata was volunteering his time as the team doctor for the Castle Park High School football team. He saw a need for an injury clinic on Saturday morning for student athletes who might have been injured during a game but didn’t have the means to see a doctor, or couldn’t wait until Monday. At their injury clinic the student is screened by a sports medicine doctor. The student is diagnosed and treated so the student can return to sports safely and in a timely manner, or if the injury prevents the athlete from participating, the athletic trainer and coach are notified immediately. If the student needs physical therapy they are referred to the PT Clinic on Monday evenings.

This is all done free of charge.

Annually, the foundation sponsors a Pre-participation Exam Clinic (PPE) where students get their required physical exam before they can participate in sports. The clinic is held in July before school starts. During an average clinic over 800 students are screened in one day! During the 2017 clinic 200 students were referred to the onsite Cardiac Screening station and they received an EKG. Twenty-two of these students received an echocardiogram onsite with TWO students being deferred from playing sports and referred to a Cardiac Specialist for further evaluation. They do suggest a donation of $20.00 for the PPE Clinic, however no student is turned away. After their expenses, they donate a large portion back to the schools for their athletic departments.

They are also proud to have been instrumental in getting athletic trainers at each high school in the Sweetwater District and in introducing Sports Medicine Classes as part of the curriculum. They provide scholarships to students who plan on majoring in Sports Medicine, or a related medical field.

None of this would be possible without Dr. Camarata and the board of directors, Dr. Leninhan, Dr. Selecky, Mike Stein & Joe Bailey (Physical Therapists) and David Mandel Esq., and the relationship they have with the Sweetwater School District. The District has always been open to new ideas and welcomes the programs they suggest.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would say it has generally been a smooth road – but it has been a long road. Something like this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of building relationships and trust for everyone involved, not only from the Sweetwater High School District, but also the physicians and medical staff who volunteer at our clinics.

The students in the San Diego State Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, and UCSD medical residents volunteer at the PPE clinic and the Injury Clinic. The instructors at both of these institutions have been very receptive in allowing us to give their students hands on experience at the Pre-Participation Exam Clinic and the Saturday Injury Clinic. The students get to see real patients and begin to understand that they are treating the individual and medicine is more than what they learn in the classroom.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Southwest Sports Wellness Foundation (SWSWF) story. Tell us more about the business.
As I stated earlier, we have specific clinics throughout the year:

PPE Clinic: Held in the summer for the students to get their Pre-Participation Exam

Saturday Morning Injury Clinic – for students who might have sustained an injury during a sporting event on Friday and can’t wait to see their doctor on Monday, or perhaps they don’t have a doctor. We have just recently expanded this to include Friday afternoons.

High School Sports Medicine Seminar: We have a partnership with the SD Gulls and SDSU. The students who are enrolled in the Sports Medicine Classes spend a day with sports medicine professionals and experience real lifelike lab scenarios.

Scholarships: We provide scholarships to students who plan on majoring in healthcare, medicine, or a related allied field.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t believe this has been a matter of luck, this organization has become what it is today due to the hard work and determination of the dedicated doctors and caring medical personnel who saw a population whose needs were not being met and decided to do something about it. It’s the relationships that have been built over the years that has made this possible.

Contact Info:

  • Address: SWSWF
    955 Lane Avenue, suite 201
    Chula Vista, CA 91914
  • Website: www.swswf.org
  • Email: info@swswf.org

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