Don’t forget about school and sports physicals

Summertime will soon end and the new school year will begin before we know it. Now is the time to schedule your child’s school or sports physicals as appointments are expected to fill up quickly.

Michael Endris, MD, a pediatrician with OSF Medical Group,  said it’s important for every child to have a school and sports physical.

“Every kid should have a school physical, ideally from their pediatrician,” Dr. Endris said. “All kids need physicals – from the high school basketball player and the junior high performer in the school musical to the skateboarding middle-schooler. You don’t have to play an organized sport to receive a physical.”

The real benefits

young boy with doctor

Seeing your pediatrician for routine well-child visits and sports physicals helps keep your child’s medical records and health history up to date. Pediatricians are trained to identify and treat both medical and bone and joint problems commonly seen in children and adolescents who play sports.

“Early in your child’s life, the physical is an opportunity to monitor developmental milestones, monitor growth, and ensure healthy habits,” Dr. Endris said. “As your child ages, your pediatrician can provide further guidance in social and emotional development, monitor changes that arise in puberty and provide advice on safety on myriad topics.”

In addition, Dr. Endris encourages you to keep up with your child’s vaccinations.

“New measles outbreaks or influenza can cause severe illness or be life-threatening and should not be taken lightly, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Also, if your child is age 12 or older, they are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Talk to your provider about getting the COVID-19 vaccine for your child. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for use in kids age 12-17. If the office you go to for your child’s care doesn’t have the vaccine, they can assist you in getting an appointment at a clinic near you.

If your child has had COVID-19

If your child has had COVID-19 within the last six months and will be returning to playing sports, they may need additional evaluation from their pediatrician to ensure there are no lingering effects.

“We are happy to answer any questions you may have, and help equip your child with the tools needed to be independent and successful,” Dr. Endris said. “We can also discuss treatment options for any concerns that may arise and provide anticipatory guidance to allow your child to grow and play safely.”

As part of ensuring the safety of you and your child, OSF HealthCare is following strict guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines require all patients, support persons and team members wear face masks in health care settings.

Scheduling an appointment

It is a good idea to get your child’s physical scheduled as soon as possible before the start of the new school year or the start of summer-time practices and tryouts for sports.

“Planning for your child’s return to school starts with scheduling their school physicals, depending on their age or grade level,” Dr. Endris said. “It also could mean your child is required to have a sports physical if they participate in their school’s sports program.”

Schedule now – appointments are already filling up. You can schedule online or through your existing OSF MyChart account.

Last Updated: June 7, 2021

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About Author: David Pruitt

David Pruitt is a writer for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare. He has a bachelor’s of journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and worked as a reporter before joining OSF HealthCare in 2014.

An avid golfer and fisherman, David was born and raised Alton, Illinois, which is where he currently resides with his son, James.

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Categories: COVID-19, Kids & Family, Preventive Health