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COLUMBIA - Fall prevention awareness kicked off in Columbia on Tuesday. Physical therapy clinic Peak Sport & Spine hosted a free screening for those who are at risk of falling.

According to the University of Missouri’s physical therapy program, falls are a leading cause of death for people who are age 65 or older. The program also said in a statement that the death rate for falls among older adults in Missouri is 31 percent higher than the national rate.

Peak Sport & Spine physical therapist Lindsay Bell said fall prevention doesn’t have to be age specific.

“It could be anybody that feels unsteady when they walk, or if they’ve had falls, or losses of balance,” she said. "What we do are a series of short tests that research shows if you fail these tests you’ll be at a higher risk for falls.”

The clinic evaluates how clients walk, as well as clients’ static and dynamic balance. Bell said the clinic offers education on how to be active and ways to safely work on balance.

One woman, 63-year-old Julie Rains, said she came to the screening because she recently fell and broke her clavicle. She could not return to work.

“First of all, I could not go back at all to do any home health," she said. "So that whole job is out for me - and I did it for family and friends and income.”

Rains said she took a lot for granted before falling, as she now has trouble with bathing, making food and driving, among various tasks.

“Sometimes when you’re just walking you might trip a bit or bump into something - it happens if you’re moving too quick,” she said. "So I actually had been trying to be aware of not falling, and here without even thinking about it I tripped and fell.”

This is the first time Peak Sport & Spine hosted fall prevention awareness in Columbia.

“We thought this would be a great way to get involved in our community, and to try to help identify people who are at risk for falls,” Bell said.

Peak Sport & Spine will have another free screening on September 28 from 12 to 2 p.m.

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