It's that time of year again. School is out, so you have time to get your kids in for their check-ups and sports physicals. You have probably seen ads for sports physicals at urgent care clinics or group physicals run by local doctors offices. They seem convenient (and cheap!), but are they really the best thing for your kid?
Why Do Kids Need Sports Physicals?
Sports physicals, also known as preparticipation exams (or PPEs to those of us in the biz), are a way to make sure it’s safe for your kid to participate in a certain sport. We check for evidence of old injuries that may cause problems in the future, medical conditions (like asthma or eczema) that need to be well controlled for kids to fully participate in their sport, and new problems that may not have gotten to the point of needing medical attention.
Why Do Kids Needs Check-ups?
The AAP has a set of guidelines for preventive care in kids called Bright Futures. The Bright Futures guidelines recommend annual check-ups for all kids after the age of 3. These check-ups help monitor growth and development (including puberty as kids get older), monitor for school problems, address behavior, sleep, nutrition, risk factors in adolescents, screening for depression, update immunizations, all kinds of things. Most pediatricians will include a sports preparticipation screening with their annual exam for kids who are school age and older. If you need a sports form completed and your child has had a physical in the past year, ask their doctor’s office. You might not need to do anything but drop off the form to be signed. Sometimes these sports forms need to be signed at the last minute, and if your child is current with their annual check-up, you can avoid a lot of the last minute sports form hassle.
Why See Your Child’s Pediatrician for a Sports Physical?
Pediatricians are specialists in the health of children. Your child’s pediatrician knows your child’s history and your family. Your child will receive a better and more thorough evaluation from someone who knows them, and you will get all aspects of your child’s health addressed at one visit, not just the sports screening.
AAP Preparticiation Evaluation Form
Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) Preparticipation Form
MBSEF Medical Record and Release Form