Sports Physicals

Sports Physicals
For many children, a physical is needed before they join a school’s sports team. At the Northwestern Children’s Practice in Chicago, our healthcare providers offer sports physicals to children from throughout the Chicagoland area.

Sports Physicals Q & A

Northwestern Children's Practice

Why would my child need a sports physical before joining a sports team?

A sports physical can provide the opportunity to keep an eye on your child’s growth and development, and also to make sure that any potential issues are treated right away. Sports physicals complement annual exams, the goal being to assess your child's readiness to participate in a sport. Each school district will have different requirements that will be addressed during the physical. Commonly, a vaccination record will also be required. This protects the overall health of the entire classroom, sports teams, and community. The Northwestern Children's Practice provides comprehensive sports physicals for your athlete. Components of the sports physical are fitness assessments, risk evaluations, concussion screenings, scoliosis screenings, nutrition assessments, and sports advice; including safe practices, avoiding injury, and improving performance.

How can I prepare my child for the sports or school physical?

The Northwestern Children’s Practice can offer information about what you need to bring for your child’s physical. This can include information about any changes since your child’s last physical, a list of any over‐the‐counter or prescription medications currently being taken by your child, and any changes to family medical history. Helping your child understand what to expect before the physical will assist to prepare them as well. Some of the assessments that will be performed at the practice can include:

  • Weight 
  • Height
  • Blood pressure
  • Vision
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Ears, nose, and throat 
  • Heart and lungs function
  • Abdomen

Letting your child know ahead of time if vaccinations are required, and discussing why they are important will also assist to better prepare them and help them feel more relaxed.

What is the difference between an annual exam and sports physical?

An annual physical exam is conducted by the healthcare provider routinely and will include an array of tests to evaluate the child’s development and wellbeing. Sports physicals work to assess the child’s health and physical condition in relation to their ability to join a sport. Many of the tests used will overlap between the two types of appointments.

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Northwestern Children's Practice
680 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1050
Chicago, IL 60611