Packing the baby off to the pediatrician’s office for a wellchild checkup is a regular part of parenting. However, as kids get older and immunization requirements are satisfied, parents sometimes forgo those routine checkups. Life can get hectic and families become busy.
It can be difficult to fit in all the annual appointments, especially with young athletes. Between practices and games, batting lessons and school commitments, work and family obligations, a free sports physical at the local school can be very tempting.
But taking the easy way out isn’t in the best interest of your child, or your family. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children and adolescents, regardless of whether they play sports, receive a comprehensive physical exam annually. Not only will this exam meet state athletic association requirements, it can identify potential problems, offer prevention strategies and help ensure your child’s health now and in the future.
The typical school-based sports physical involves checking off a few boxes, talking briefly with the athlete, taking a basic history and physical and a quick physical exam. It’s the MINIMUM required to play. The pediatrics specialists at Lexington Clinic think your child – all children – deserve more than the absolute minimum.
During a comprehensive physical exam,
Lexington Clinic doctors:
• Listen to both the child and parent about any questions or concerns they may have in regard to physical, emotional, cognitive or social development.
• Answer questions and recommend changes that can lead to a healthier, happier and longer life.
• Review the child’s entire medical record, not just the check-off answers on a form.
• Discuss the family’s medical history, including heart disease, which could affect the child athlete.
• Review immunization status and ensure the child is up-to-date and protected from common diseases, such as measles.
• Conduct a thorough physical exam that includes a review of cardiovascular, pulmonary and neurological functions.
• Assess the child’s musculoskeletal system – hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, spine as well as all of the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments connecting them. This assessment includes a discussion of previous injuries, preventing future ones and first aid/treatment should an injury occur.
• Order laboratory tests as needed, to check for anemia, blood sugar, hyperlipidemia, thyroid function and more.
• Assess the athlete’s oral health and, if needed, provide a referral for additional services.
• Assess the child’s growth and nutrition, including height, weight and BMI. This can help identify issues such as Type 1 diabetes, malabsorption, renal disease, allergies, chronic infections or environmental difficulties.
• Evaluate the athlete’s sexual maturity as appropriate and answer any questions the athlete may have in an honest and open manner.
The benefit of having a comprehensive annual physical cannot be overstated. Not only do pre-adolescents, adolescents and young adults benefit physically, they also benefit emotionally, developing a level of trust and confidence in the provider that can’t be duplicated in a 10-minute, mass physical held in a school gym.
Lexington Clinic Pediatrics provides excellent care for all ages of childhood – from birth though young adulthood. Lexington Clinic pediatricians are committed to providing compassionate care to every child and their families.
In addition to providing comprehensive physicals, Lexington Clinic Pediatrics specialists offer an after-hours nurse triage service; in-office lab and x-ray at all locations; same-day appointments for established patients; and Saturday and Sunday appointments for sick children.
Summer is the perfect time to schedule a physical for your child! Not only are summertime schedules more relaxed for parents, there are fewer sick children to see, so appointments are more readily available.
If you would like more information on how to schedule an appointment for your child, please call our referral liaison at (859) 258-4362.
Lexington Clinic is Central Kentucky’s largest and oldest multi-specialty medical group. With 200+ providers in more than 30 specialties, Lexington Clinic cares for more than 600,000 patients annually.