Now more than ever, it is important that all school-aged children and adolescents obtain a school or sports physical. One of the primary benefits of this visit is to help students and their families better understand how they can stay well as our nation continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
A school physical is designed to cover many different components that make up a student’s overall health and wellbeing.
- screening students for heart related problems
- assessing vaccination status
- addressing conditions that could require a treatment plan prior to returning to school
- vision and hearing screening
- addressing potential developmental and behavioral concerns
- other factors that affect a student’s well-being and educational success.
Getting ready for the school/sports physical visit
Prior to the visit, it will be helpful to think through your student’s past medical history and existing medical problems. Filling out any patient paperwork for your provider will help guide you on what type of information to include.
An important part of a student’s medical history includes family history of any potential heart-related problems as well as specific pediatric diseases. It will be helpful if parents or guardians are able to tell the provider if the patient has any family members who have passed away at a young age due to a heart-related condition. This will help the provider assess the student’s risk of heart-related issues.
Setting students up for success
Another important part of a school physical involves addressing the student’s exercise tolerance. Does the student become mildly short of breath upon exercising only for a few minutes? Can the student participate in exercise activities similar to other students in his or her class? Questions like these can help the provider assess many different things such as screening the patient for asthma and musculoskeletal disorders.
The school physical also provides the opportunity for parents or guardians to discuss potential concerns regarding the student’s behavior or development. Learning disorders often go unidentified through adolescence. It is important that each student is empowered with the opportunity to perform at his or her best level. The doctor can help identify, manage and make any assessment referrals for possible conditions such as hearing and vision loss, ADHD, learning disabilities, and more.
Occasionally, accommodations are needed so that students can meet their academic potential. Earlier identification gives opportunities for earlier interventions, if needed. A school physical is an excellent opportunity to better understand how the student can ultimately be given the best chance to meet his or her aspirations.
We can help
At AppFamily Medicine, Baker Center for Primary Care, and Davant Medical Clinic*, we desire to be a medical home for the entire family – infant, pediatric, adolescent and adult (*Davant Medical Clinic sees patients 6 years and older). This includes helping students and their families get ready for the coming academic school year and have confidence that students’ medical needs are addressed. We look forward to serving you and your family as the coming academic year approaches with its own particular challenges.
Call your child’s primary care provider or one of the following practices to schedule a school physical. You can also request an appointment online.