The importance of sports physicals


With the start of the new school year, many parents are scheduling their children for their back-to-school check-ups. According to Meagan Conwell, RN, MSN, CNL, sports physicals are an important part of that back-to-school checklist if your child or teen is considering even casually playing sports.
“Sports physicals give us a chance to not only check growth and development, but to also check on any vaccinations that may be overdue,” she said. “It gives us a good opportunity to visit with the patient and make sure everything is going well.”
For the past several years, SGCMH has offered the physicals at both Valle and Ste. Genevieve High Schools, but because of the COVID virus and the precautions that are still in place, the hospital decided to provide the physicals in the clinics instead of at the schools. They are available at Apple Kids Pediatrics and Bloomsdale Family Health Care Pediatrics.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that we’ll still donate $15 from each physical back to the students’ respective schools if they receive their physical before June 30,” said Conwell. “Students under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian and bring the signed (by parent or guardian) MSHAA physical form, which can be downloaded from their schools’ website.”
Conwell explained that a routine physical examination during a sports physical includes an assessment of vital signs, vision screenings and hearing screenings. Providers also look for joint and muscle problems.
“We make sure you have no problems with your head, shoulders, knees and back,” she explained. “The well checks also give the doctor’s an opportunity to check old injuries and make sure students are not re-injuring themselves. It also gives us an opportunity to get a basic screen for anxiety and depression, because especially now with the pandemic, we are finding a lot of those cases. Teenagers don’t always like to talk about it.”
Bhargav Kanani, MD, FAAP; Shilpa Desai, MD, FAAP; Gail Craft, RN, CS, FNP will be performing physicals at Apple Kids Pediatrics, 590 Pine Drive (573-883-4455). Kelli Brockman, MD will primarily provide physicals at Bloomsdale Family Health Care Pediatrics at the Bloomsdale Medical Centre, 255 Boderman Lane (573-483-9492).
“A sports physical is a great way to engage teenagers in their health care, when they otherwise may not get their regular checkup,” Conwell said. “We perform sports physicals to help keep students healthy and make sure they’ll be able to enjoy playing the sports they love.”

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