The Best Sports Physical: In the Medical Home

by Brenda Walliin on June 17, 2015

in Healthy Living

1It’s that time again! It’s time to get your teen or pre-teen ready for sports participation or summer camp. Parents and youth have many options for completing the forms required for physical exams but one option incorporates the strengths of the medical history, the relationships with known health providers, the availability of great health education, the involvement of parents and the value of a continuous medical record.

The young athlete needs more than a check of joint function or heart rate. Our children and adolescents need consistent care, parental involvement, good information, and a place to be seen in case problems arise. The best place for these to occur is with their usual doctor in their clinic: their “medical home”.

Many parents are not aware that if a child or teen has been seen for their annual check-up within 12 months, the clinic and doctor will complete the required sports or camp forms at no cost. That saves both time and money while assuring that all the records are available in one consistent place.

When the sports or camp physical is done in their medical home, the immunization records, their previous (and future) heights and weights, and their list of concerns and medications are all easily available. If an actively growing adolescent gets a sports physical outside their usual place of healthcare, it may be more difficult to determine problems with growth, function and health if a problem arises during the next school year, since records from outside sports physicals are rarely shared with the family’s healthcare provider.

The increasing focus on the rare but life-threatening heart problems in the young athlete makes coordination of care even more important. Screenings that include tests for heart arrhythmias are best conducted in the medical home to assure that both family and personal records about these problems are in a permanent and easily retrievable healthcare system.

What is a medical home? Some families are very loyal to the mechanic or shop that does their oil changes and car repairs because they know the shop tracks problems in their vehicle and has records about previous maintenance. In similar ways, a medical home is both a place and a relationship. The continuous involvement of a child or family with a clinic and its staff. The care provided in the medical home allows doctors and health providers, nurses and staff to know their patients and have access to important health information over a long period of time. The medical home can provide consistent care and appropriate referrals while tracking growth, recurrent problems and comprehensive medication patterns.

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