The drone of a lawn mower, the warmth of the noonday sun, the smell of sunscreen and fresh cut grass – summer is here and now is the best time to schedule your child’s sports physical.  Completing the exam early in the summer allows plenty of time to follow up with a specialist, if needed, or complete any additional tests. It also prevents the rushed sensation that comes with putting off the sports physical until the day before tryouts or the first practice.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a rookie, everyone can benefit from a refresher on what a sports physical includes and why they are mandatory.  A preparticipation physical evaluation, or PPE, is a great way to maximize safe participation in a sport as it can identify life-threatening medical complications as well as old injuries and conditions that may interfere with performance.

The medical history form is the most important part of a PPE.  Personal and family history and review of symptoms detect approximately 75% of conditions that restrict participation or require further evaluation.

The physical exam will include a height and weight measurement, vital signs, vision test, musculoskeletal exam and cardiac screening. Make sure your children bring their glasses or contacts for the vision portion of the exam. If any joint pain or issues arise on the physical exam, having a sports physical early in the summer allows time to formulate a plan of care emphasizing rehabilitation and injury prevention.

In addition to the PPE, parents are encouraged to schedule their student athletes for baseline ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) and Sway tests.  Done before the season begins, these tests offer baseline information which will assist practitioners in making decisions about return to play in the event of a concussion. These two tests are not covered by insurance.

Please remember, a sports physical is not a substitute for an annual exam.  It is very important to have an established relationship with a health care provider who will oversee your child’s care throughout the year.

Rush Convenient Care locations offer school and sports physicals. No appointment needed. Learn more at

Concussing Testing
Deepak Patel, MD, Rush Copley Medical Group family and sports medicine physician, offers ImPACT and Sway tests in Aurora and Yorkville.  The cost is $25 per test. To schedule an appointment call 630-236-4270.

Vincent Botta, APRN

Vincent Botta, APRN, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner with Rush Convenient Care.

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