It may only be springtime, but it’s important to schedule your sports physical now for fall interscholastic sports. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) requires that all athletes playing a fall sport through their school have a physical exam between June 3 and August 5, 2013. The exam and form are good for the entire school year and for multiple sports seasons.
At Mount Nittany Physician Group’s pediatrics department, a sports physical does not differ from a regular annual well visit; however, if your child has had a well visit this year before June 3, 2013, she will need another exam to play a school sport during the 2013-14 school year. This is a PIAA rule. Unfortunately, some insurances may not pay for more than one exam during a year, so some parents end up paying for exams out of pocket.
Most schools have the PIAA form available on their website, and some schools require you to complete parts of the form online. Please bring this form with you and have the health history form completed and ready for your provider to review.
During the exam, height and weight will be measured and Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated. Blood pressure will be taken and, if desired, vision and hearing will be tested. Our providers screen for heart conditions and family history that are concerning in athletes at each well visit. Social and personal behaviors that are common and sometimes risky during adolescence are also discussed. We also perform complete physical exams and always review immunizations.
At the end of the visit, we discuss our findings and recommendations with both the patient and the parent or guardian.
If your provider has any concerns about your child’s health while playing a sport, you may be asked to follow up with a specialist to be cleared for participation. We will do everything we can to have your child cleared before the deadline to turn in their PIAA form. This is an excellent reason to schedule your sports exam as soon as you can.
Available appointments for sports physicals go quickly, so schedule early. If your child will be playing a winter or spring sport only, waiting until after August 5 will make it easier for you to schedule.
For more information on a sports physical or to make an appointment with Mount Nittany Physician Group’s pediatrics department, please call our Bellefonte office at 814.355.3626 or our Boalsburg office at 814.466.7921. You can also learn more at mountnittany.org.