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News  ›  Pediatrics and Parenting

Don’t wait to schedule school and sports physicals

July 9, 2019

Summer may have just kicked off, but the time to call the physician to schedule your child’s school physical and sports physical is now. The Illinois Department of Public Health requires a physical exam for all children entering a public, private or parochial school for the following grade levels for the first time: pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade.

According to, building a medical history for your child, which includes regular physical exams is invaluable. “This helps the doctor detect emerging problems, as well as being informed by the detail of the patient’s history, such as important past illnesses or injuries the child may forget to mention on the sports physical questionnaire,” the site states. “That detail includes immunization records.

For some kids, back-to-school physicals may be the only time they visit their pediatrician. The back-to-school checkup is a great time for the family physician or pediatrician to talk to children about specific issues (based on level of development) such as anxiety, depression, drinking, smoking, drugs, sexual activity, and emotional or developmental concerns.

A school physical can include:

  • Necessary vaccinations
  • Heart and blood pressure check
  • Testing for diabetes
  • Diet and exercise discussion
  • Pediatric vision screening
  • Testing for cholesterol and anemia

If a child is planning to participate in a school sport, a sports physical will be required.

Sports physicals may include:

  • Ensuring the child is physically able to participate in a sport
  • Discussing injuries or potential injuries related to participation in a sport
  • Talking about nutrition
  • Addressing training and exercise programs, and overuse/overtraining issues

Since sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in young athletes during sports, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “athletes undergo a comprehensive pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE) for heart conditions and health risks that may place participants at higher risk of injury, illness and/or life-threatening conditions.”

Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) Medical Group physicians are part of the NCH coordinated system of care, ready to serve patients’ needs. Schedule your child’s school physical or sports physical online.