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The Importance of School Physicals

A school physical assists in identifying any chronic medical conditions or acute illnesses that could affect a child’s progress. It is also a good time to talk to a medical professional about any eating difficulties or sleep problems a child might have.

In many cases, it is easier to treat illnesses and injuries if they are diagnosed early. If a child gets a school physical every year, it will be easier to identify problems, creating the opportunity to treat them. Some schools even require students to get physicals before enrolling or participating in athletic programs.

A school physical examination is much like any other examination. Medical professionals are onsite to weigh and measure children before taking vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, and pulse. A doctor or physician assistant will listen to the child’s heart and lungs, palpate (press on) the abdomen, and examine eyes, ears, nose, and throat. If a child needs a sports physical, the doctor will also test his or her strength and flexibility.

Our physicians at Lemak Health hold pre-participation physical examinations (also known as physicals) for athletes participating in athletic related programs at local middle and high schools around the state of Alabama. We partner with Drayer Physical Therapy to provide medical and athletic training coverage.

We have one goal: to sustain and promote the health of every athlete. We primarily accomplish this by identifying if an athlete has any medical issues that would place him or her at risk for injury or illness. When an athlete is in good health and receives medical clearance via the physical, he or she can participate in sports.

The first step of a physical is the medical history screening. The medical history includes past medical history, previous sports injury history, and family history of the athlete. The next step of the pre-screening is height, weight, pulse rate, blood pressure, vision, and hearing examinations.

The final step of the physical is the actual physical examination by a member of the medical team that includes a full musculoskeletal and neurological evaluation. At Lemak Health, we believe one of the most important parts of a physical occurs at this stage, which is the neurological test.

We use the King-Devick to test for concussions, other head injuries, and neurological problems. The King-Devick test helps our physicians assess recovery from concussion as well as measure impairments of speech, language, and other correlates of suboptimal brain function.

In some cases, a child athlete may not be cleared after his or her physical examination, at this point they will be required to have some additional testing done, such as a blood test or x-ray, before being able to participate in sports. However, it is our mission at Lemak Health to get every young athlete cleared for sport participation, if medically feasible.

If your child has no history of health problems, schedule a physical once every one or two years. Children with asthma, diabetes, and other chronic medical conditions should be examined every year. This is especially important if your child takes any medication.

Please reach out to the Lemak Health team with any questions concerning your child’s health. We will work tirelessly to be a servant to your athlete and family.