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Your reliable resource for current topics related to your child’s health and development – plus lots of tips for new (and experienced) parents.

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School Sports & Physical Exam Requirements

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Many middle and high school sports programs require an Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) form be completed and on file prior to participation in school sports.  Northpoint Pediatrics handles sports physical exams on a regular basis and is ready to help you and your young athlete!

Student Athletes

When would my child need a sports physical exam?

At the middle/high school age many programs or schools require that a doctor complete a physical participation form. Completing this form can be done at a well-child checkup as long as the dates match up with your school’s requirements. In Indiana, the High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) requires a physical examination to be performed on or after April 1st to be valid for the following school year.

  • If your child has had a well-child checkup scheduled AFTER April 1st but prior to participation in sports we can complete the form at that time.
  • If your child has had a well-child checkup PRIOR TO to April 1st but within the last 12 months we can schedule a sport physical (abbreviated well-child checkup) and complete the form at that time.  
You can download the IHSAA sports participation forms from our Sports Physical page.  Please be sure to complete the parent section and bring the form with you to the appointment.

If you are unsure when you student's last wellness exam was - send an inquiry to Ask Customer Service. We will check and get right back with you!

The benefits of youth sports

Youth sports are an opportunity for kids to get fit and learn new skills. The benefits of sports go beyond the physical.  Sports help kids make friends, learn the value of teamwork, and how to handle adversity. If your child shows interest in a sport, choose a program that focuses on learning and fun. Always make sure safety is a priority for the sports league. If you have questions about what is developmentally appropriate for your child, talk to your pediatrician.

When is a good time to start competitive sports?

While general guidelines can help you select a sport based on age, it’s important to remember that children develop at different rates. Just like when your child learned to walk, they will develop the physical, mental and social skills needed for sports at their own pace. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends avoiding organized, competitive sports until over the age of 6 years old. Even then, sports programs should be focused more on learning new skills and less on keeping score. Kids ages 10-12 are often ready for competitive sports but take your child's lead. Many children will have more fun playing more frequently on a less competitive team than riding the bench for a more competitive team.

Middle school starts in many districts at the age of 12 or 13, which coincides with the AAP's recommendation for readiness for a higher level of athletics. This is also the age that many schools require a physical participation form be completed by your child's doctor in order to play a sport.

Learn more about Northpoint Pediatrics Sports Services, including Concussion management and ImPACT Testing.

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