It may seem like a burden to get a doctor to fill out that form for school each year, but there are many good reasons to get your student athlete an annual sports physical.
Florida only requires that each child in grades K-12 receive a physical exam one year or less before entering the public school system. This required entry physical just isn’t enough to make sure all children taking part in school sports are healthy and safe, though. For school athletes, an annual sports physical is required.
The annual sports physical must be documented on the Florida High School Athletic Association’s EL2 Preparticipation Physical Form and completed before the student participates in any type of sports during the school year, including training and practices. Middle schools often use the same form.
Schools want your child to have an annual sports physical to make sure they are healthy enough to participate in sports and reduce the school’s liability if an accident does happen.
Just because this physical exam is done for school sports purposes doesn’t mean you can’t also learn vital information about your child from it. Thoroughly reviewing your child’s annual sports physical can give you information about your child’s overall health and growth. The EL2 requires a full student health history and findings of a head-to-toe physical examination. This data can tell you if your child is growing in line with their peers, eating well, or has a predisposition for a genetic disorder. Speak with your doctor about any information on your child’s sports physical form that you do not understand.
Visiting the doctor each year for a sports physical also gives you and your child a chance to review their vaccination status and catch up on any missed shots. Most doctors, including the team at AFC Urgent Care, can administer vaccines during the sports physical appointment if needed. As your child reaches adolescence, the CDC recommends they receive a Tdap booster, HPV and meningitis vaccinations, as well as annual influenza shots. COVID-19 vaccinations have also been approved for children over 12 in the United States for those interested.
Even if your child does not play school sports, an annual physical examination is recommended to ensure they are developing on schedule and do not have any problems that require medical intervention. You may also want to request that bloodwork be drawn during the physical visit to check things like cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
If your child needs a sports physical and you cannot get an appointment with their primary doctor before the season begins, consider using the convenient urgent care services at AFC Urgent Care in St. Petersburg. We offer walk-in sports physical appointments that you can get in line for before you ever leave home. We are even open on weekends and in the evenings during the week to work with your busy schedule. Don’t let scheduling conflicts and work obligations stop your child from enjoying school sports this year. Stop by AFC Urgent Care for fast, convenient, and affordable student sports physicals.