(And Why A Sports Physical Is Not Enough) 

Most families have full schedules, making it difficult to get into the doctor’s office for an annual check-up. It seems so much more convenient to just go to the quick/convenient care down the street and have them fill out the required sports physical form for school. Be aware of the pitfalls of this decision.  

Sports physicals are very different than annual check-ups. In a sports physical, the provider will screen for sports-related health problems, like previous injuries, possible heart problems, vision/hearing concerns, and anything that could put your health at risk during a sports activity.

Annual check-ups do so much more. Your primary care provider knows your long term history, which is important in your evaluation for participation in sports. Also, development and growth are monitored closely at these visits. Disorders of growth should be detected early so that a treatment can be started in time. If a child goes a year or two between check-ups, by the time the growth disorder is detected there may be nothing that can be done. Recommended lab monitoring, screening for mental disorders, and counseling on nutrition and sleep are all done during check-ups. Primary care providers are also able to give recommendations on safety at these visits – this is called anticipatory guidance. Prevention is key, and you can learn a lot about the current health and safety recommendations from your primary care physician. Lastly, staying up-to-date on your immunizations is very important for each individual, as well as the whole community. The walk-in convenient care down the street does not have your updated immunization records, and may not have vaccinations available to give.  

Be sure to schedule your annual check-up today to ensure a convenient time for you and your family. And don’t forget the sports physical form! 

Children’s Mercy – Cradle Thru College Care
1004 Carondelet Drive, Suite 310  •  Kansas City, Missouri 64114  •  816-942-KIDS (5437)  •  Fax 816-942-4830