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Healthy Living Blog

Sports Physicals Are an Important Part of Your Child's Health

March 04, 2019 | Mary Helton


It’s that time of year again! If you are the parent of a student athlete, you’re probably already thinking about your child’s sports physical for next school year. The Ohio High School Athletic Association requires all athletes to receive a pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE) and return the PPE form in order to participate in competitive sports. PPEs help detect any risks or limitations an athlete might have before they begin the sports season.

Many medical societies, including the American Academy Pediatrics and the American College of Sports Medicine, recommend athletes receive a thorough examination from their primary care physicians prior to their participation in sports.

Your child’s primary care physician is the best person to complete a thorough sports physical for your child. Your well-established and trusted relationship with your primary care physician enables him/her to catch issues that may have otherwise been missed. They have access to medical records, family history, and may even remember things in their history that your child forgot or thought wasn’t relevant. A primary care physician sees “the big picture” contributing to your child’s readiness for competitive sports.

A primary care physician is also able to spend more time with your child and provide a more in-depth exam. For many children, the PPE is the only visit they’ll have with their primary care physician each year. A comprehensive annual checkup with a primary care physician will not only assess your child’s readiness to participate in athletics for the year, but can address additional issues such as problems at school, drugs and alcohol, and your physician will also watch out for depression and other mood disorders. This annual checkup sets them up for an overall healthy lifestyle and can spur important conversations and lessons about your child’s health.

When our children are babies, we take them to regular well-child checkups. They get their vaccines, we see how much they’ve grown, and we ask the doctor questions about their development. As they get older, those visits tend to take a backseat. We get busy and we no longer have the same questions to ask about our child’s development. However, these visits are still important in adolescence and can serve as a PPE for your student athlete.

Contact your coach or your school’s athletic department with any questions about your school’s requirements. Know when the PPE form needs to be turned in and plan ahead to make sure you can get an appointment.

The 2018-19 PPE form can be found at fishertitus.org/athletic-training and the 2019-20 form will be posted when it is available. Schedule your child’s annual visit and have the form completed and ready along with any other documentation the office requests when you make your appointment.

Although it may seem like a hassle to schedule a visit for your student athlete’s physical, it is in the best interest of your child’s overall health.

Mary Helton is the Vice President of Ancillary Services. She is responsible for oversite of the ancillary services division including Imaging Services, Laboratory Services, Nutrition Services, and Rehabilitation Services at Fisher-Titus Medical Center.

Fisher-Titus has several primary care physicians now accepting patients in Norwalk, Wakeman, New London, Willard, and Milan. For appointments, call (419) 660-2900.