Essentia Health encourages scheduling a sports physical for 2024-25 school year

April 11, 2024  By: Caitlin Pallai

soccer game

Essentia Health is proud to start offering sports physicals for student-athletes, from middle school to college, across North Dakota and Minnesota that will be valid for next school year and beyond.

In North Dakota, sports physicals conducted on or after April 15 are good for the following school year. In Minnesota, sports physicals are good for three years.

A sports physical, also known as a preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE), helps determine whether it's safe for your child to participate in a certain sport. Most states, including North Dakota and Minnesota, require that student athletes have a sports physical before they can start a new sport (including any practices) or begin a new competitive season.

A sports physical can be completed on its own or as part of a well-child/teen visit. It is recommended that your child have their physical at least six weeks before their sports season begins so there is enough time to follow up on something if necessary.

Forms are available online at ndhsaa.com (North Dakota) and mshsl.org (Minnesota). Please complete and sign the appropriate form before your appointment and bring a copy when you come in for your child’s physical. Non-Essentia patients are welcome.

During a sports physical, you will learn:

  • Whether it is safe for your child to participate in a sport.
  • How to protect your child from injuries.
  • How to play safely with a medical condition or chronic illness.

“You don’t have to play an organized sport to be an athlete,” said Dr. Tanya Diegel, division chair of primary care at Essentia. “Many children participate in physically demanding activities like snowboarding, skiing, jogging, climbing and hiking, while others aren’t as physically active. Regardless, all children should receive a physical from their care provider.”

In addition to getting the physical completed, a well-child/teen visit is one of the best ways to ensure your child is healthy and thriving. Well-child/teen visits are a great time to review your child’s health in all areas – growth, cognitive and social development, illness prevention, mental health and more.

You can schedule these visits directly through your pediatrician or family medicine provider. You can also schedule by calling (844) 663-1068, online through EssentiaHealth.org or through your Essentia MyChart patient portal.

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