back-to-school

About Those Sports Physicals

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If you are a parent of a student who wants to play or try out for school sports, you need to be aware of required health screenings and physical examinations. Most schools require all participants or would-be participants in any form of sports activity to submit the results of a pre-participation physical examination. This must be done every year.

The State of Connecticut is no exception. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) requires completion of their Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation form by the student, his or her parent(s)/guardian, and a licensed physician.

The Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation

The physical evaluation consists of four major parts.

History

The student, with the help of his or her parent(s)/guardian, should complete this section prior to taking the form to a physician. Questions focus on the following general areas:

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  • General health history
  • Heart health questions about the student and family
  • Bone and joint questions
  • Specific medical questions

If any question is answered “Yes,” an explanation must be provided on the form or a separate sheet. Circle any question that you cannot answer so that you can discuss it with the physician.

Supplemental History for Athlete with Special Needs

This section provides an opportunity to identify any disabilities, visual or hearing impairment, allergies, use of special equipment, etc. There is also a section that allows identification of any past physical or medical difficulties.

Physical Examination Form

This section is completed only by the examining physician. It addresses the following areas:

  • Questions about mental and physical well being
  • Use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
  • Medical examination of vital signs, musculoskeletal condition, and general fitness

The bottom of the form asks the physician to clear the student for all sports without restriction or without restriction but with recommendation for further evaluation or treatment. The physician may also withhold clearance for all sports, some sports, or in order to evaluate further.

The original copy of this form is retained in the physician’s office and can be amended at any time.

Clearance Form

The clearance form summarizes the conclusions of the physician regarding whether the student is cleared for all, some, or no sports activity. There is also a section to identify allergies and other emergency information.

Important Reminder: Submitting a Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation form for sports activity does not fulfill the requirement of submitting a regular Health Assessment Record as required by your school. Be sure to check with your school for specific policies.

Having a Pre-Participation Exam

Many families ask their regular physician or pediatrician to complete this examination. During the crush of back-to-school activities each year, obtaining an appointment in time is often not possible. In that case, or if you do not have a regular health care provider, go to an urgent care center.

When you go for your exam, please observe the following steps:

  • Download, print, and fill out your portion of the Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation form.
  • Reserve an examination time at the clinic if possible.
  • Bring your completed form with you.
  • Bring your student’s health insurance information and ID.
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If you live near one of our clinics in Wethersfield or Rocky Hill, CT, come to Kathy’s Urgent Care. We perform many of these examinations every year, and we can help you with any questions that you might have. We also treat minor sports injuries.

Authored by Dr. Tom Brown

Our clinics are open 7 days a week. Just call to reserve a time or walk in at your convenience. Our contact information is available on our website at www.kathysurgentcare.com.

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Back-to-School Physical Exams and Immunizations Are Due!

If you are a parent of pre-school or school-age children, you’re probably in back-to-school mode right now. But do you realize that your kids’ most important exam occurs before they start school? I’m talking about their physical exams and immunizations. Without having the up-to-date records on file with your school district, your kids might be kept from enrolling.

School Health Requirements

As a public health measure, most states require all school children (including day care and pre-school) to submit a record of having had a physical evaluation and up-to-date immunizations. Connecticut, for example, requires all students to submit health and immunization records to their school district or program before they are permitted to enroll. In addition, Connecticut requires additional physical exams and updated immunizations before students begin the 6th or 7th grades and again before the 9th or 10th grades, depending on school district policy.

Connecticut also requires that the physical examination and immunization record be signed by a licensed physician (MD), doctor of osteopathy (DO), Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), or Physician Assistant (PA).

Public health concerns are very important. Health screenings in Connecticut include:

  • Physical characteristics and vital signs: height, weight, body mass index, pulse, blood pressure
  • Vision evaluation with and without glasses
  • Hearing evaluation
  • Hemoglobin levels and ratio
  • Speech facility
  • Tuberculosis screening
  • Asthma
  • Allergies, including risk of anaphylaxis (e.g., whether Epi Pen is required)
  • Diabetes (Type 1 or 2)
  • Seizures

Immunizations required in Connecticut include:

  • DTP/DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis [whooping cough]) OR
  • Tdap (diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis [whooping cough], required for 7th grade entry)
  • IPV/OPV (polio)
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella; required K-12th grade)
  • HIB (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • Hep A (Hepatitis A; pre-K and K)Hep B (Hepatitis B; required pre-K-12th grade)
  • Varicella (chickenpox; 2 doses required for K and 7th grade)
  • PCV (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine; required for pre-K and K)
  • Meningococcal (meningitis; required for 7th grade entry)
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • Flu (influenza; required for pre-K 24-59 months old; given annually)

Exemptions

Exemptions from immunization requirements may be granted for two reasons:

1.     Under some circumstances, a medical exemption for specific vaccines might be indicated. Such an exemption requires submission of the appropriate form that is accompanied by a letter signed by a licensed physician.

2.     An exemption may be granted for religious reasons. To claim such an exemption, the appropriate form must be filed before a student enrolls in a public or non-public school for the first time and before entering 7th grade.

Students who are granted either exemption might be excluded from school (1) until the public health official determines that a disease outbreak danger has ended, (2) until the student has completely recovered from a disease, (3) until the student has been vaccinated, or (4) the student furnishes proof of immunity to the disease.


Meeting the Requirements Easily

After reviewing the requirements, you might worry that you can’t have your child’s physical exam and immunizations completed before school starts. You’re not alone!

Many people find it cumbersome and sometimes impossible to arrange an appointment with their usual physician or pediatrician for this purpose. If you find yourself pressed for time, go to an urgent care center for the required physical exam and vaccinations. When you do, observe the following steps:

  • Download, print, and fill out Part I of the appropriate form, one for each child.
  • Reserve an examination time at the clinic if possible.
  • Bring your health assessment form(s) with you.
  • Collect and bring all immunization records for each child.
  • Bring your child’s health insurance information and ID.

As a precaution, be sure to contact the health office of your child’s school or in the district office to see if they have specific forms for you to use or school-mandated procedures to follow.

If you live near one of our locations in Wethersfield or Rocky Hill, come to Kathy’s Urgent Care. You can call to reserve a time or just walk in. We are open 7 days a week.

For information about how to contact us, visit our website at www.kathysurgentcare.com.

Authored by Dr. Tom Brown