Sports physicals are no substitute for check-ups

Sports physicals are no substitute for check-ups

With school and sports pre-season practices just around the corner, it’s about that time to schedule yearly check-ups and sports physicals.

However, experts advise that one does not replace the other. According to new research from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, more and more parents forget to cover all the bases and think sports physicals are all that’s necessary going into the new school year. Doctors are urging to not cut corners and to schedule both appointments, especially if their child is an athlete.

“For some adolescents, sports physicals may be the only interaction with a health care provider they have over the course of a year,” says Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., lead researcher, in a statement.

This is a concerning trend for youth. Research shows the high instances where an athlete had a serious underlying condition that was not found until it was too late.

Researchers emphasize that parents should make sure that they know what is covered and what isn’t in sports physicals.

Another point the researchers stressed was that convenience plays a big role in scheduling these appointments. More and more parents are taking their child to alternative health care providers for their sports physicals due to the convenience factor.

The research team points out that it is beneficial to the children to have their normal check-ups and sports physicals with the same provider because that will result in the process being more thorough overall.

“I believe that the sports physical and the routine can and should be the same exam. The assessment of risk of participating in athletics is a smaller and simpler exam than the routine yearly screening exam,” says Dr. Daniel Lazar, primary care physician with Advocate Medical Group in Glenview, Ill.

Related Posts



  1. Really important reminder. Thanks for this story….

  2. Agree–this is an important distinction to make and a great reminder that your teens need a yearly physical.

  3. This definitely is important, I have been getting physicals every year still, ever since high school when I played sports every year!

  4. Lynn Hutley

    Convenience shouldn’t outweigh the importance of health care for one’s child but unfortunately in our busy world, it does for many.

Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.