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Published on August 25, 2022

A Doctor's Guide to Your Child's Sports Physical

teenager in baseball cap sits in dugout

by Dr. Salil Mathur, EvergreenHealth Primary Care, Totem Lake

Fall is quickly approaching! As you start making a list for all your child's back-to-school to-dos, you might find your child needs a sports physical.

While it's important every child gets a regular physical, sports physicals are different in specific ways and can be a bit more complicated because they are usually required by schools' athletic programs.

If you're scheduling your child's sports physical, here are some things you should know and important reminders:

What is a Sports Physical?

Sports physicals help athletes learn everything they need to know about their health and how it affects their ability to play their sport. A sports physical, also sometimes call the preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE), consists of two parts: medical history and a physical exam.

We will go over with you and your child any serious illnesses among your family, any of your child's medical conditions or illnesses like asthma or diabetes, current medications and various other health information.

The physical exam consists of checking your child's blood pressure and heart rate, measuring their height and weight, testing their vision and examining overall health, strength and flexibility.

When Should My Child Get Their Sports Physical?

Your child's school will likely have a deadline for their PPE paperwork, so it's important to schedule your child's sports physical ahead of the cutoff.

However, it's a good idea to make the appointment as soon as possible since there may be additional tests needed if your doctor finds anything unusual.

Typically, your child's sports physical is good for 1 year, but if there are any changes in their health, let your doctor know immediately.

What Do I Bring to the Appointment?

The most common thing parents forget to bring to their child's physical is the school paperwork. Most often, schools need a doctor to sign off on the student's physical before they can play their sport.

Bringing the paperwork to the appointment will avoid potential delay and ensure you can get the form back to the school as soon as possible.

Additionally, if you need to, bring any information about your family's medical history. This is important in helping us understand your child's risk factors.

Salil Mathur Meet the Expert

Salil Mathur, MD

Dr. Salil Mathur has been practicing family medicine since 2018. He has extensive experience with all age groups including pediatric care and geriatrics. Dr. Mathur's practice includes care of acute illnesses as well as chronic disease prevention and management. Dr. Mathur also performs minor procedures including minor joint, skin and gynecologic procedures.

Read Dr. Salil Mathur's full profile

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