If your children are involved in high school sports programs, you’re probably well aware of the physical exam required by their school. And with some local Orange County medical groups and schools offering easy, sports physicals for a small fee, you might be tempted to take them up on this offer. But did you know that most health insurance already offers your kids a free, yearly physical exam? This physical not only fulfills the high school’s requirements, but gives your child so much more of the care and attention they need, on and off the field.


What is a Sports Physical?

In order to participate in a sport, your child first must pass a sports physical. Unlike an annual physical check-up, a sports physical focuses on only a few key, necessary areas related to athletic performance. This includes height and weight, vision and hearing, heart health, blood pressure, bone health, and muscle flexibility and strength. A sports physical usually does not include any discussions of the child’s development, immunizations, or overall health risks.


What is a Yearly Physical?

A yearly physical goes beyond the surface, and takes a deeper look at all aspects of adolescent health. Along with the athletic exam, it includes a look into their medical history, sleep habits, nutrition, social and psychological development, health risks, and more. It also provides an opportunity to bring up anything else you’d like to discuss with your healthcare provider, such as peer pressure, academic and cognitive development, or drugs and alcohol – which are vital topics of discussion during the high school years. 


The Importance of Continuity of Care

Continuity of care is critical to making sure your child is getting the pediatric care they need. Going over all parts of their physical health and beyond allows your child to develop a close relationship with their provider, so that they feel comfortable asking any questions they may have. Sports physicals are often completed by other providers, meaning they won’t know much about them, or in some cases, have never met them before. Completing a physical check up is important, and very personal. It’s best to ensure your child or teen is working to build trusting communication with their primary provider, so they can get the support they need throughout their growth and development.


Why You Should Opt for a Yearly Checkup

In addition to a yearly physical being required, your child also can also be cleared to play sports in the same visit. This saves you time, by condensing multiple appointments into one. Additionally, yearly checkups are covered by insurance, meaning they come at little to no cost to you, whereas a sports physical outside your provider will require a higher fee. Your child needs more than just a quick check up, and a yearly physical gives you the full picture of what their health really means.

At Coastal Kids, we’re dedicated to providing your children with the quality care they deserve, every time. So whether they’re lacing up those cleats, putting on that helmet, or putting on those swim goggles – we’ll help you make sure they’re in tip-top shape. To get started, contact a Coastal Kids office, near you.