Back to School Physicals
Charles J. Sprague, M.D.
Boys Town Pediatrics
Back to school physicals are going to be required at kindergarten and then again at entry to junior high, which for most people is considered seventh-grade and then you have to have annual physicals once a year when you're doing junior high or high school sports.
We certainly think the kids should be seen once a year, every year, regardless. If somebody comes in only when there's a problem you don't have any historical data to help you out. There are things with growth that we can, you can follow trends and you can intervene and prevent before there are problem or a crisis.
What happens at a physical?
Things you can expect at your back to school physical are going to be your standard growth measurements. We are going to measure your weight, height, plot you out on our charts with a BMI (body mass index) included.
We're going to talk very extensively, I think, about diet. How extensively depends on how those growth charts look. We're always going to do some development screening which at school-age is talking about social skills, school performance, sports interactions, and then we're always going to cover any past medical history topics so that anybody has problems with asthma, diabetes, any significant history, we are going to make sure that we have the right plan in place as you move forward.
What happens at a sports physical?
Sports physicals are going to be very similar to your annual physical. They really focus more heavily on the sporting activities once you hit junior high, so seventh grade through senior year in high school.
At that point you're focusing, in addition, to everything we talked about for the well child visit, your focusing on any history of concussions, concussion management and prevention. You're looking for any orthopaedic injuries and specifically, cardiac or pulmonary diseases.
When should my child's physical be scheduled?
We schedule them here starting late March and we;'ll go all through April, May, June, July running them into August and of course, for some of the people that procrastinate a little bit, we're hitting them even into September.
Those visits fill up fast so the earlier in the summer you do it the better.