Time for sports physicals

There’s a lot to do before a new school year begins. In addition to school supplies and new clothes, there’s something you shouldn’t leave until the last minute — the preparticipation sports physical. Without one your student athlete won’t be allowed to “get in the game.”

Sports physicals aren’t meant to be a headache, but potentially a lifesaver. Harvard Sports News reports dozens of young people “die each year while playing sports. In many cases, the underlying health condition that led to death could have been identified by a pre-sports medical exam.” Ben Jackey, a communications officer with Jefferson County Public Schools, told me sports physicals are required annually.

An easy way to get that checked off your list is to head to the nearest Norton Immediate Care Center. Soraya Nasraty, M.D., medical director, Norton  Immediate Care Centers (ICC), told me it’s a pretty simple process. “For sports physicals, the parents fill out the history section and we perform a general physical exam,” Dr. Nasraty said.

The exam includes a check of vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and respiration. She stresses that it's very important for the history section of the sports physical exam form to be accurate, since this can help providers identify problems that could put student athletes at risk on the field or on the court.

No appointment is required for a sports physical at any of the 12 Norton ICC locations and there’s often very little waiting. The American Medical Association says sports physicals are important tools for identifying high-risk situations. They are not intended to replace an annual wellness visit to a pediatrician or family doctor.

The cost of a sports physical is typically not covered by health insurance. However, Norton Immediate Care Centers offer them for the low fee of $30. To find the nearest Norton Immediate Care Center, go to nortonhealthcare.com/ICC or call (502) 629-4444.