Back to school sports physicals at Rockford Pediatrics

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At Rockford Pediatrics, we feel that sports are a great way for kids/teens to stay active, fit and involved.  Schools now require a pre-participation physical (a.k.a. sports physical) to be completed prior to being allowed to play.

Why is a sports physical important?

This is a key opportunity to identify risk factors for life-threatening heart conditions and arrhythmias.  It is also a chance the ensure that your child is fit enough for the physical activity that their sport will require.

What are the benefits of going to your pediatrician for your sports physical vs. an urgent care/sports physical clinic?

At Rockford Pediatrics, you have continuity of care and access to your prior medical records and past medical history.  We have the ability to address other medical issues such as asthma, allergies, mental health concerns, female health issues, etc.  Immunizations, which are sometimes required for school, can be reviewed and given if necessary.  If further testing is needed, this can also be ordered and possibly scheduled or performed right in the office.  Also, with the Affordable Care Act, annual physicals should be covered by your insurance company without any cost to you.

What is done at a sports physical?

Your child will have their vitals taken – including height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate, a hearing screen and a vision screen.  Their growth curves will be reviewed.  A medical history, both personal and family, will be taken.  A complete physical exam will be performed, focusing specifically on the heart, lungs and joints.  Finally, we will provide anticipatory guidance that will benefit their health, both on and off the field.  This can include information on preventing over-use injuries and concussions.

Are there any further tests that are needed?

If there are any red flags in the personal or family history, or any abnormalities found on exam, there could be other tests that are needed.  These tests could include an EKG or an echocardiogram to look at your child’s heart, CBC to look for anemia or spirometry for asthma. 

What needs to be done before a sports physical is performed?

For new patients, having records transferred over (especially if your child has any chronic medical issues) and having a copy of your child’s immunization record is important.  Also, having the MHSAA physical form questionnaire filled out before your visit is essential. We want to make sure that your child does not have a history of heart or lung disease and that there is no family history of heart disease or sudden death before the age of 50.

If your child is in need of a sports physical, call our office today at 616-259-6100.  We can get them in before the start of school!

Sources: Healthychildren.org and pedsinreview.org - the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics