Back to School Sports Physicals

Gear Up for Back to School Sports 


Getting a routine physical exam is an important back-to-school preparation, no matter which grade your child is about to enter. It is often combined with a sports physical, required if your child will be participating in extracurricular activities this school year, even if school sports look differently than years prior. For student athletes, early detection of critical underlying health conditions, including cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that causes thickening of the heart muscle and has been known to result in the sudden death of young athletes, is critical to avoiding potentially life-threatening consequences. Here's what to expect during the exam and when to schedule it with your child’s primary care physician.

Assessment of physical well-being.

During a school physical, your child’s primary care provider (PCP) will perform a routine physical that includes measurements and evaluations of your child’s growth and development. The PCP will measure height, weight, pulse and blood pressure. He or she will also evaluate the eyes, ears, nose and throat; neck, chest and lymph nodes; heart and abdomen; skin and muscles; and the joints and spine.

Building a medical history.

Routine physicals are an opportunity for young patients to build a medical history. Having a long-term record gives the PCP an awareness of your child’s progress and development over time. Your child’s PCP will review family medical history, any past illnesses or hospitalizations, and current medications.

Charting and paperwork.

Ensuring your child is current on all state-required vaccinations is an important part of a school or sports physical for kids. Your child’s PCP will make sure all immunizations are up to date and administer vaccines if needed. You will receive a printed report of your child’s statistics and immunizations for your records. In addition, please bring any school-required physical forms to your child’s appointment.

When to schedule.

Schedule your child’s physical at least four to six weeks prior to the start of school. Scheduling back-to-school physicals well in advance of the start of the school year or school sports season allows for time to evaluate and treat any concerns that are discovered during the exam. If you haven't scheduled yet, don't delay - schedule your child's appointment today.