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Do My Kids Need Sports Physicals?

With the start of the new school year comes the return of fall sports for kids. Whether your son is trying out for the football team or your daughter is returning to her soccer league, it isn’t uncommon for schools to require that kids get a sports physical before they start practicing. So just what does a sports physical entail, and how necessary is it?

What is the purpose of a sports physical?

A sports physical (also known as a preparticipation physical exam or PPE) is a physical examination that takes place before someone is cleared to take part in organized sports. Sports physicals typically involve two components.

The first is medical history. A physician will inquire about previous injuries or surgeries, family medical history, current medications, and any pre-existing conditions. This information will be used to consider any conditions that your child may have or be susceptible to.

The second part of a sports physical consists of the actual physical exam. During the exam, a physician will record a student’s height and weight, blood pressure, vision, and overall health. A doctor will also typically ask students about their habits regarding diet, exercise, and sleep.

If a doctor deems your child ready to play, he or she will sign off on the PPE form. If there are any doubts, a doctor may require additional exams, or refer a child to a specialist before authorizing participation.

How necessary are sports physicals?

This might depend on where you live, how old your kids are, and what sport your child will be participating in. In some states, a PPE is required before a student can participate in a sport, but this isn’t the case everywhere. For youth soccer or basketball leagues for younger students, physicals are typically not required and it is up to parent discretion. For contact sports such as football, it is more common that a physical is necessary. If you aren’t sure, check with the league organizer to get more info.

At the high school level, sports physicals are often required regardless of the sport at hand. While some schools will arrange for physicals to be offered on campus one day, most will require students to do these on their own before participating in any school sport. If this is the case, make sure to bring your school’s provided paper work to the physical to have it filled out by the physician.

Finding a Quality Urgent Care Center Near You

Yes, a sports physical is another thing that will likely end up on your to-do list at the already busy start of the school year. The good news is, though, that you can often get your child a sports physical at your local urgent care center. You don’t have to make an appointment, there’s very little waiting involved, and the level of care is up to the highest professional standards. It’s worth it to make sure that your kids are ready to start the fall sports season in perfect health!

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