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School sports are a great way for kids to stay active and make new friends. But before your child puts on a uniform, a physical exam can help determine if it is safe for him or her to participate.
Most states, including Illinois, require that young athletes have a sports physical before they start a new sport or begin a new competitive season.
Nasreen Ansari, MD, a family medicine physician at the University of Chicago Medicine Center for Advanced Care at Orland Park, answers parents’ questions about sports physicals.
A: Your child should be seen by your physician or other medical professional at least six weeks prior to the start of the sport's season.
A: Parents should bring the school’s sports physical exam form completed with the child’s medical history, a list of the child’s medications (if any) and any other medical information that may be necessary.
A: Depending on the issue, your son or daughter may need to have a more advanced evaluation and/or diagnostic tests. This could delay their participation in the sport. However, the goal is to always keep your child safe and healthy.
A: Plenty of rest and a well-balanced diet are key. In addition, look for ways to help your child manage stress. Participating in a sport, maintaining good grades and keeping up with household responsibilities can be a lot for any child to juggle.