Preventive Health

Don’t forget abcut school and sports physicals

Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many uncertainties are surrounding the coming school year. Officials are deciding whether school will be held in classrooms or homes, or a combination.

Michael Endris, MD, a pediatrician with OSF Medical Group, explains that regardless of how your child will be taught, it’s still important for every child to have a school and sports physical.

“Every kid should have a school physical, ideally from their pediatrician,” Dr. Endris said. “All kids need physicals – from the high school basketball player and the junior high performer in the school musical to the skateboarding middle-schooler. You don’t have to play an organized sport to receive a physical.”

The real benefits

Seeing your pediatrician for routine well-child visits and sports physicals helps keep your child’s medical records and health history up to date. Pediatricians are trained to identify and treat both medical and bone and joint problems commonly seen in  children and adolescents who play sports.

“Early in your child’s life, the physical is an opportunity to monitor developmental milestones, monitor growth, and ensure healthy habits,” Dr. Endris said. “As your child ages, your pediatrician can provide further guidance in social and emotional development, monitor changes that arise in puberty and provide advice on safety on myriad topics.”

In addition, Dr. Endris encourages you to keep up with your child’s vaccinations.

“New measles outbreaks or influenza can cause severe illness or be life-threatening and should not be taken lightly, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

How COVID-19 changes things

OSF HealthCare is following strict guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for cleaning and disinfecting. We are thoroughly cleaning surfaces between every patient, and we have removed any non-essential materials that are difficult to clean. Hand sanitizer is readily available.

To keep the risk of exposure to COVID-19 low, all patients, support persons and team members must wear face masks, and we are encouraging physical distancing when possible.

“We are happy to answer any questions you may have, and help equip your child with the tools needed to be independent and successful,” Dr. Endris said. “We can also discuss treatment options for any concerns that may arise and provide anticipatory guidance to allow your child to grow and play safely.”

Scheduling an appointment

It is a good idea to get your physical at least six to eight weeks prior to the start of school or sports to ensure there is time to address any issues that may arise.

“Planning for your child’s return to school starts with scheduling their school physicals, depending on their age or grade level,” Dr. Endris said. “It also could mean your child is required to have a sport physical if they participate in their school’s sports program.”

Schedule now – appointments are already filling up. You can call your primary care provider, schedule online, or use OSF MyChart.

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