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High School Soccer: Schedule a Sports Physical

As summer approaches and the excitement of a new sports season builds, it's easy to get caught up in the anticipation of practices, games, and team activities. However, there's one crucial task that often gets overlooked until the last minute: the sports physical. If you’ve ever found yourself in a frantic scramble in August, desperately trying to secure an appointment, you know how stressful it can be. Without fail we are contacted the week of tryouts (sometimes even the first day of tryouts) by parents who’s player cannot tryout for their High School team because they did not get their Sports Physical.  

One million years ago my younger brother was actually turned away by his high school for not having his sports physical turned complete prior to tryouts. He was unable to tryout and didn’t make any team.  We want to blame the school but they are just following the player safety protocol put forth by OHSAA. So blame them. Or blame yourself, because we are giving you all the notice you need to get your physical NOW.

The Importance of a Sports Physical

A sports physical, or pre-participation physical examination (PPE), is not just a bureaucratic requirement. It's a vital step to ensure that you are healthy and ready to participate in athletic activities. This exam helps to identify any conditions that might limit your performance or increase the risk of injury. Key components of a sports physical include:

Medical History Review: Understanding your past injuries, illnesses, and any ongoing medical conditions.

Physical Examination: Checking your height, weight, blood pressure, vision, heart, lungs, and musculoskeletal system.

This comprehensive check-up ensures that you can safely engage in your sport and helps to prevent potential health issues during the season.

Why Early Planning is Essential

1. Avoid the August Rush: August is notorious for being the peak time when everyone realizes they need a physical, leading to overbooked doctors' offices and long wait times. By planning ahead, you can avoid the last-minute chaos and secure a convenient appointment.

2. Flexibility in Scheduling: When you schedule your physical early, you have more flexibility to choose a date and time that fits your schedule. This reduces the likelihood of having to miss important pre-season practices or other commitments.

3. Addressing Health Concerns: If your physical health uncovers any health issues that require further attention, having your examination early gives you ample time to address these concerns before the season starts and get cleared to play.  My oldest son broke his ankle in June of his sophomore year.  By July 15 when we had his physical he should have been cleared to go but found that he had a secondary break. If we would have sent him back to play without the physical he would have certainly been back in boot.  The physical delayed his return to play to well after tryouts but because he went to everything (in a boot) and had the doctor’s documentation we were able to communicate with his coaches and he started his first Varsity game in 3 weeks into the season.

4. Peace of Mind: Getting your sports physical done early means one less thing to worry about as the new season approaches. You can focus entirely on your training and preparation, knowing that you are medically cleared to play.

Tips for Scheduling Your Sports Physical

Check Your Calendar: Look at your summer schedule and identify a window where you can comfortably fit in your physical. Aim for late spring or early summer to avoid the rush. Also consider if you have any outstanding vaccinations. Your player will appreciate not having to go from getting their Tdap booster straight into training or tryouts.

Contact Your Doctor Early: Reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as possible to set up an appointment. I don’t know about your pediatrician but mine seems to be scheduling well visits out 3-4 months in advance. If your regular doctor is fully booked, consider alternative options like urgent care centers or clinics that offer sports physicals.

Organize Your Medical Information: Before your appointment, gather any necessary medical records, including vaccination history and any forms required by your school or sports league. This will streamline the process and ensure all your information is up to date. For your convenience we’ve linked to the OHSAA forms right here. 

By scheduling your sports physical early, you’re setting yourself up for a stress-free start to the sports season. Not only will you avoid the last-minute rush, but you’ll also ensure that you’re in peak health and ready to give your best performance and your future Soccer Mom (or Dad) brain will thank me. 

Quick Local Options for Sports Physicals

Your PCP or Pediatrician: Check with your doctor and try to get an appointment at least 6 weeks before tryouts and closer if you have to. Your doctor will be your best option for a Sports Physical because they know your child’s medical history best.

Your High School: Check with your high school and see if they will be hosting a drop in Sports Physical Clinic.

Kroger’s Little Clinic: Kroger often has same day appointments, they take insurance and they are familiar with the OHSAA paperwork. 

Urgent Care: This would be a last resort. Urgent cares are not made for well visits and you will be prioritized at the bottom of the list. So our advice is if you are going to use urgent care you call ahead and see if they even do Sports Physicals, ask for an appointment and still try to go right when they open. Concentra Urgent Cares have locations around the state and they do take appointments for physicals.

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