Ahead of the class

Physicals_100446321School is probably the last thing on your mind in the middle of summer, but it’s a great time to beat the back-to-school rush and schedule sports and school physicals.

There are a number of reasons why a thorough health assessment is a good idea before your student heads back to class.

  1. Both Kansas and Missouri require that students be vaccinated against certain diseases before starting school.
  2. Student athletes can’t take the field/court without a pre-participation physical. The pre-participation physicals are required by most states (including Missouri and Kansas) before your child can begin a new sport or each new playing season (once a year).
  3. Yearly checkups are the best way to ensure that your children are healthy and developing at the appropriate level.

To schedule an appointment for a physical exam for your child at the KC Health Care Trust Employee Clinic, call 816-513-6001. As usual, there is no copay and no deductible for this service if you and your family are enrolled in one of the City’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance plans.

You should contact your school or sports association for specific instructions and forms. Remember to bring the health-assessment form with you to the appointment, filling out your portion of the form prior to arrival.

Athletic advice
If you do have a student athlete, know that these physical assessments will help determine whether your child can safely compete in sports, but they also are important because they can identify medical problems such as heart disease and severe asthma. Ideally, sports and health screenings should take place four to six weeks before activities begin. This way, there will be time to address any problems revealed in the assessment.

During the physical, a nurse practitioner or doctor performs a head-to-toe assessment of your child, looking for any abnormalities that may need further investigation by a specialist before your child may participate in a sport. In addition to determining overall health, the nurse will concentrate on assessing any history of concussions, seizures or even recent sprains and fractures as part of the exam.

Know that even if your child has a minor health issue or injury, it’s very unlikely that it will disqualify them from playing sports. “In fact, fewer than 1 percent of students have conditions that might limit sports participation, and most of these conditions are known before the (sports assessment) takes place,” according to kidshealth.org.