Add Sports Physical to Your Back to School Checklist

As you prepare for the upcoming school year, now is the time to schedule a sports physical for the student athlete in your family.

Most leagues require a sports physical form that is signed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. A sports physical form is good for one calendar year. You can obtain the appropriate sports physical forms from your school.

We included some frequently asked questions regarding sports physicals below:

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What are the benefits of a sport physical for my child?

Approximately 62 percent of all organized sports-related injuries happen during practices rather than games. Football, basketball and soccer were found to be the top three sports where most injuries occur.

Sports physicals are usually required by athletic leagues and schools − and for good reason. They raise awareness of any issues that may interfere with your child’s ability to participate in a sport. Our providers can help identify areas that may be prone to injury and suggest tips and exercises to avoid future problems.

What is included in a sport physical?

Our providers will check your athlete’s vitals, joints and flexibility. They’ll also do a short fitness assessment to diagnose and recommend any possible limitations on physical activity.

It's not necessary for you to bring a vaccination record with you to receive a physical at UNCPN. However, please be aware that some states require your child's immunization record before he or she can begin a new sport. You will need to schedule a follow up appointment for any immunizations.

Vitals check

We'll check your child's pulse and blood pressure to ensure proper vitals. We'll also document his or her weight and height, since growth spurts and weight changes can place added stress on joints, muscles and bones.

Fitness assessment

Next, we’ll examine your child’s heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat. We'll check his or her cardiovascular system and recommending any limitations on physical activity.

Joints and flexibility check

By testing your child’s strength, flexibility, posture and joints, we can identify any areas that may be prone to injury as well as suggest potential exercises and tips to help build a healthier body.

Medical history review

Your child’s medical history is just as important as a medical examination. Knowing about any past illnesses, surgeries, or conditions, such as asthma or chest pains, will help diagnose problems and prevent future complications.

Does my child still need an annual well exam?

Yes, a sports physical is not the same as an annual well exam and should not be used to replace an annual physical exam. The sports physical is designed to clear an athlete for participation in sports while the well exam includes much more.

What is not included in a sports physical are developmental and immunization histories, long-term health concerns and risk factors and advice for developing a healthy lifestyle.

A well child exam usually includes a complete physical examination (including vision and hearing screening), a discussion of the child’s medical history, weight, height and body mass index, childhood nutrition, sleep habits, physical development and activity, social development and activity, cognitive development and academics, risks to health and safety, status of chronic conditions, immunization update, preventive health recommendations and adolescent issues. It is also our opportunity to discuss important topics such as peer pressure and avoiding drugs, tobacco and alcohol use. It helps our providers to develop an open, trusting relationship with you and your child so you can turn to us with questions or concerns regarding puberty, normal development or any medical concerns.

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