Back-to-School Physicals and Sports Physicals

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Going back to school can be an exciting time for students and parents. As many parents know, getting ready for the new school year often comes with a list of things to do, including back-to-school physical exams at your child’s pediatrician’s office.

Whether your child is preparing to return to school or wants to play sports during the new school year, it’s important to make sure they get their annual physical exams. This can help make sure they are healthy for the new school year and a new sports season, as well as ensure they complete any requirements necessary to return to school, such as immunizations.

The pediatrician offices at Norton Children’s Medical Group provide annual well-child checks, school physicals, sports physicals, plus vaccinations for new and existing patients. Making your child’s pediatrician office part of your family’s medical home makes it easier for you, your child and the provider to help them start this new school year healthy, happy and ready for a great year ahead!

Types of Physicals Offered at Norton Children’s Medical Group

A back-to-school or sports physical will vary based on your child’s age.

A school physical exam assesses your child’s overall health and development and serves as an annual check-in with their pediatrician. During this exam, the pediatrician will evaluate the child’s physical and mental readiness for school. This exam can check for any new or existing health issues, plus any concerns with development that may impact whether they need additional physical, behavioral and/or learning interventions or support in the school environment.

When does my child need a physical to start school?

It’s a good rule of thumb to see your child’s pediatrician every year before school starts. However, many states require school physicals by law, depending on a child’s age. Check with your child’s school district about when and how often they need to complete a school physical. Your child also will need to receive immunizations required by law to attend school. The school physical is a great time to ensure they are up to date on vaccinations.

What happens during a school physical exam?

  • Review of your child’s medical history and any existing chronic conditions, like asthma
  • Check height, weight, blood pressure, pulse and other vital signs
  • Mental health screening
  • Immunizations, if needed

Assessment of vision, hearing and neurological function

  • Completion of forms needed for school participation (some school physical exam forms require additional information from your child’s pediatrician)
  • Discussion about your child’s nutritional habits, physical activity, dental hygiene, vision and more

A sports physical exam, also known as a pre-participation physical examination (PPE), involves a pediatrician assessing your child’s overall health and fitness level to determine if they are physically capable of participating in sports activities. These types of exams also may be required to participate in other extracurricular activities or to attend camp.

What happens during a sports physical (pre-participation physical exam)?

In addition to the regular school physical exam or annual well-child check, a sports physical may include:

  • Evaluation of the child’s general appearance, posture and physical development
  • Examination of the heart, lungs, abdomen and musculoskeletal system
  • Orthopedic tests to evaluate your child’s joints, flexibility, strength and range of motion
  • Completion of forms needed for sports participation

Benefits of School and Sports Physical Exams at Norton Children’s Medical Group

  • Same-day and next-day appointments may be available
  • New patients may be seen in 24 hours
  • Most offices are open on weekends and offer late-night appointments
  • More than 25 locations across Kentucky and Southern Indiana

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