You wouldn’t send your child to football practice without a helmet,
or to school without a backpack. You may have checked and double-checked
the sports equipment and school supply lists, but have you taken the time
to make sure your child’s health is in check? Back to school sports
physicals are one of the most important things you can do to ensure that
your child will have a happy and healthy year, while doing all of the
things they love to do.
Now is the time to schedule an appointment with your child's primary
care physician. Be proactive and get your appointment on the calendar
before the back to school rush!
Sports physicals give you an opportunity to talk to your physician about
your child’s health and any issues he or she might be experiencing.
The summer is a great time to get these exams taken care of before the
hustle and bustle of the fall. Make sure you use this time to schedule
a physical, so you can make sure your child is healthy and physically
ready to head back to school and participate in sports.
It is important to take advantage of your child’s time with their
care provider by preparing for the appointment in advance. If your child
needs to have written proof of a physical exam (for the school or the
sports team), bring that form along with their insurance and identifying
documents. Additionally, if your child wears contacts or glasses or takes
any medications, you will want to bring records of those as well.
Examinations may vary from appointment to appointment, but, generally,
your child can expect to have his or her height, weight, blood pressure,
pulse and heart rate measured, as well as his or her eyes, ears, nose
and throat checked. Along with the physical exam, the care provider will
discuss medical history and check your child for any behavioral or mental
issues. As with any medical appointment, it is crucial to disclose anything
and everything about your child’s health to your physician.
One of the reasons that sports physicals are so valuable is that, if done
annually, you will be able to track your child’s medical history
and measure any changes in allergies or chronic illnesses over time.
The sports physical appointment is also a time to go ahead and have your
care provider perform a full wellness exam. Sports physicals do not take
the place of a wellness exam because they tend to focus on injury prevention
rather than medical history and general well-being. If your child gets
their annual wellness exam, the doctor will be able to sign off on any
sports clearances he or she might need to participate in athletics. In
a wellness exam, your child’s physician will also get the opportunity
to hear about how he or she is doing academically and socially in school,
and answer any questions the child might have about their individual growth
and development. Back to school wellness exams are recommended from infancy
to age 15, because they involve checking to make sure the child is up-to-date
on all recommended vaccines (TDaP, Polio, MMR, Hepatitis B, Varicella,
Meningococcal and Hepatitis A [Indiana only] are on the recommended list
to enter grades K-12).
Taking your child to get a sports physical will allow them to take ownership
and responsibility for their personal health. It will also give you peace
of mind, knowing that your child is healthy to do all of the things that
he or she wants to do in school. Although it may feel like summer just
started, it’s never too early to get their sports physical on the
calendar. Summer fun will fly by, and fall will be here before you know it.
If your child doesn’t already have a primary care provider, click
here to find a provider. For more information on payment and insurance coverage
please contact your physician's office.
Remember, beat the back to school rush and make an appointment for your
child’s sports physical and wellness exam today.