By ANDREW RITZ
Student-athletes, regardless of age, almost always need a PPE (preparticipation physical exam) before starting their sport of choice. The physical determines their eligibility to participate in various athletics or attend sports camps.
There are a number of options where they can have the exam performed, but where is the best place for your child to have their sports exam? It is a location where a physician has access to their comprehensive medical records, a list of their current immunizations and is conducive to private discussions.
That place is their primary care doctor’s office. These are the doctors who know your son or daughter best, often since birth. The sports physical can alert the physician to any red flags if your child is predisposed to a condition or illness, such as a family history of heart disease, or if the child has had a prior concussion. It also provides time to review their immunization record and update any vaccinations that need to be done. Because it is in a confidential setting, it is conducive to discussion about anything your child wants to talk about, whether it is about their general health, weight, diet, physical activity or topics of a more sensitive nature such as birth control or drug and alcohol use.
One more issue to think about is that many insurance companies pay 100% for well child care, so it may actually be less costly then the “$10 physical” at a location outside the office.
Recently, a group of six primary care and sport medicine organizations updated guidelines for sports physicals. The organizations were The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine. What was one of their main recommendations? You guessed it: The best place for your child’s sports exam is at their primary care doctor’s office.
Dr. Andrew Ritz is a pediatrician with Blanchard Valley Health System.