Annual Sports & Back-to-School Physicals

Every parent wants their child to be safe, happy and healthy! One of the best ways to help him or her remain healthy is with an annual back-to-school or sports physical.

What are annual physicals?

Annual physicals involve your child’s doctor looking at your child’s:

  • Family history
  • Personal health during the past year
  • Basic eye exam
  • Basic hearing test
  • Development and growth
  • Vaccination history
  • Overall physical health

An annual physical is classified as a preventative care exam. This means that the main focus is on overall growth and development, ensuring your child is reaching the appropriate milestones for his or her age. This is not a diagnostic appointment! While it is a good time to bring up concerns you or your child may have, the main focus of this visit is not to treat symptoms.

Why are Physicals Required?

Schools and sports teams use annual physicals as a way to protect their entire student population. Knowing that the students are up to date on vaccinations and generally healthy helps prevent outbreaks from occurring among the students.

Annual physicals also help ensure that all sports participants are physically ready for the season, helping prevent possible injuries.

When Is the Best Time of Year for an Annual Physical?

Most parents are rushing to get their child’s annual sports or back-to-school physical complete toward late summer. It never fails; the wait times increase mid to late summer as families rush into the office to fill out their forms by the due date. Don’t wait this year! Early spring and summer leading up to the following school year is the perfect time. While your child is in for his or her appointment, it is also a good time for you to schedule an appointment. Any adult who participates in fitness-related activities will also benefit from a yearly physical.

Don’t have a primary care provider yet?

Our Find a Doctor tool can help you locate a family medicine doctor, pediatrician or primary care doctor in your area!

How Can We Prepare for an Annual Physical Appointment?

Your child should not be stressed or worried about the appointment. You can explain to him or her the purpose of this appointment and a brief overview of what they can expect. If you know your child will be receiving a vaccination, you can also explain those ahead of time to prepare him or her for what is to come and minimize surprises in the office.

You can prepare for the appointment by bringing the most recent version of his or her insurance card, a summary of his or her personal medical history and changes to the family medical history. Also be prepared with a list of any prescription or over-the-counter medicines your child has been taking. Don’t forget forms you need the doctor to fill out for your child’s school or sports teams. We recommend handing them to the staff member who takes you and your child into the examination room area and records his or her weight and temperature!

Annual Physicals at UnityPoint Clinic

The coordinated care approach that UnityPoint Health offers ensures that your child’s health care needs are led by his or her doctor. Provide your child's physician with the most up-to-date information necessary to make the best decisions for your child. Schedule an appointment today and check this off your summer to-do list!