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Yearly sports physicals should be taken seriously

By: Amy Spangler, nurse practitioner, ProMedica Urgent Care for Kids


Sports physicals can seem like one more thing on the summer to-do list, but they really are an important health screening. Sports physicals identify any general health concerns as well as any cardiac or orthopaedic issues before students safely participate in sports each year.


Here are some tips to make your child’s sports physical go smoothly:


Choose the health facility wisely

Ideally, a sports physical should be part of the yearly wellness appointment with a primary care provider who knows your child’s medical history, especially any prior injuries or conditions. A known provider has more complete information and can best advise on your child’s health and well-being.


Plan ahead

Be proactive about scheduling your child’s sports physical. Do not wait until the day before the form is due to the school to visit a provider as the provider offices may be quite busy, and it is possible that your child may need to visit a specialist to be cleared.


Have the paperwork completed

Sports physicals are mandated by each state to document a detailed medical history. Make sure you have your child’s immunization records and dates of any injuries, surgeries or hospitalizations.


Wear loose-fitting clothes

The best outfit for a sports physical is shorts and a t-shirt. We recommend that females wear sports bras. A full physical examination includes looking at the skin, checking vitals, vision testing, checking the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat as well as evaluating posture, joints, strength and flexibility.


It’s OK to allow for privacy

Sometimes adolescents and teenagers need privacy to freely discuss their health questions or concerns with the provider. It is OK for you to wait in the waiting room.


If your child had COVID-19, know the details

The American Academy of Pediatrics added questions about COVID-19 to sports physicals this year. If your child had COVID-19, know the dates of onset, how long it lasted, symptoms, details of any hospitalization and any lingering issues. It is possible that your child may need an evaluation by a cardiologist, along with an electrocardiogram (EKG), to be cleared for sports.


Know that your child may not be cleared

The whole purpose of a sports physical is to protect from injury and medical problems. If there are reasons for concern, it should be taken seriously, and follow-up appointments with your child’s primary care provider or referrals to specialists may be needed.

More information available online at https://promedicahealthconnect.org/



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Revised: 07/13/21 21:38:15 -0700.




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