Kids and Teens Sports Physical in West Chester

March 26, 2024

Sports physicals are a yearly task for anyone, young and old, who wants to engage in recreational or competitive sports. They may seem time-consuming and unnecessary, especially since one is needed for every sports season. While getting one completed for every season may appear redundant, sports physicals are vital to ensure athletes are healthy enough to participate. Just because someone received a clean bill of health one year does not mean their bodies have changed the following year. Below is helpful information about sports physicals available at AFC Urgent Care West Chester with no appointment needed!

What is a Sports Physical?

A "sports physical" is the common name for what is often known as a "pre-participation physical examination," or PPE for short. The goal of this evaluation is to determine if an athlete (either a child or an adult) is physically able to participate in a sport without endangering their health. Outside of sports seasons, it is recommended that someone beginning a new exercise routine speak with a provider to see if a sports physical suits them. Often, a sports physical is a quick and easy way to ensure a new routine will not harm their health.

If I get a sports physical, can I skip an annual physical?

Knowing that a sports physical and an annual are not interchangeable is essential. It is still necessary for adults and children to get their regular physicals. A sports physical focuses on things directly impacting a child or adult's ability to play a sport. While a sports physical will cover some of the things an annual physical will cover, a yearly physical will look at more things and conduct important screenings that are typically not performed during a sports physical. Annual physicals are also available at AFC Urgent Care West Chester.

What happens during a sports physical at AFC Urgent Care West Chester?

While the needs for an individual sport will vary, generally, sports physicals for adults or children will have the following:

  • Vitals Check - Our experienced staff will check athletes' vitals, like their pulse and blood pressure. Height and weight will also be documented. This can be important for younger athletes who experience puberty and growth spurts. These changes to the body can put additional stress and strain on bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Eye Exam - Eyesight is vital in sports, not only for being able to score and win but also for the safety of an athlete and others. An eye exam will determine if someone needs prescription lenses or if they need to change their prescription so they can see.
  • Medical History Review - An athlete (or parent of a younger athlete) should come to a sports physical with a list of any past or recent:
    • Illnesses
    • Medical Conditions (IE, Asthma, Allergies)
    • Surgeries
    • Current medications

This will help a provider decide if any additional referrals, tests, or restrictions are needed for an athlete's safety. This information must be current and up-to-date to prevent future complications.

Can I use a sports physical for my child for daycare, camp, or school?

Generally, no. Schools and daycare facilities will need documentation regarding children's vaccinations, growth, and other things not covered in a typical sports physical. Additional paperwork that would be optional to participate in a sport is often needed. However, AFC Urgent Care West Chester does offer physicals for schools and camps.

Why would someone need a sports physical from AFC Urgent Care West Chester?

Most schools in the West Chester area belong to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc., also known as the PIAA. By state law, the PIAA has jurisdiction over sports in the Middle and High Schools that belong to the organization. As such, they mandate a pre-participation physical to participate in any organized school sports. Forms for these physicals will often be sent home by coaches and administrators with children for their parents to get filled out by a medical professional. Many private schools and other sports organizations will also require sports physicals before children can participate. Finally, our board-certified providers can complete sports physicals for any NCAA sport from a local university, such as West Chester University, Cheyney University, or Immaculata University.

Are adults required to get a sports physical before participating in organized sports?

Some organized sports leagues will require a physical before participating. However, many recreation and sports clubs may not require one but recommend one. A sports physical is always highly suggested to ensure someone is healthy enough to take on the rigors of a sport. It is also a good idea for an adult (or a child) to check in with a provider to ensure their health information, tests, and immunizations are current!

What should I bring to AFC Urgent Care West Chester for a sports physical?

We aim to make getting a sports physical for you or a child as easy as possible. Anyone needing a sports physical should bring their ID and the Sports Physical Form. These forms are typically provided to someone if they are participating in an organized sport. The sports physical form should be partially filled out before the visit to save time. Things that should be already filled out include:

This will help our providers look for anything that may put someone's health at risk when participating in a sport.

When should a sports physical be administered? How long is a sports physical valid for?

Most sports physicals must be submitted before someone can participate in the first practice. Most sports physicals are valid for a year. However, the timing of the sports physical is essential. For example, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a sports physical can only be given by a provider after June 1st for the upcoming year in many cases. This timing often leads to bottlenecks in getting a sports physical appointment from a primary care provider. AFC Urgent Care West Chester requires no appointment for our sports physicals, and our flexible weekday and weekend hours make it easy to get this examination completed.

Is it possible for someone to fail a sports physical?

Yes. Someone may be deemed unfit to play a sport due to an underlying medical condition, like a hernia, uncontrolled asthma, undiagnosed heart murmur, or a recent concussion. These, and other medical concerns, may cause someone to fail their sports physical. Our priority is to keep an athlete safe. If someone does not pass their exam, we will work with their primary care provider or pediatrician to ensure they get the care they need to participate.

Does insurance cover a sports physical?

Typically, most insurance will not cover a sports physical. However, the cost of a physical at our location is very competitive compared to other urgent care centers in the area.

  • Fitness Check - During this part of the physical, an athlete will receive a thorough physical exam from our provider. They will check an athlete's lungs, heart, and abdomen to ensure they do not have any physical limitations for the sport they want to participate in. Things like a hernia, asthma, or recent surgery can impact their ability to play safely. Our provider will also test and evaluate athletes' posture, strength, flexibility, and joints. This will allow them to identify any areas prone to injury. Often, they will suggest possible stretches or other exercises they can do to help mitigate this risk.
  • Health history
  • Certifications
  • Current medications
  • Recent injuries
  • Recent surgeries
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Consents
  • Signatures

Come to AFC Urgent Care West Chester today for a sports physical. No appointment is needed. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We look forward to serving you.

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