How COVID-19 affects sports physicals (Healthy You)

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Before kids can hit the field, the court or the track, they have to get pre-participation physical exams, better known as sports physicals.

In the age of COVID-19, most things have been adapted to slow the spread, including UIL requirements for physicals.

Whether your child kicks a soccer ball, shoots hoops or plays drums in the school band, if it’s their first year doing so the UIL requires a physical exam beforehand.

“That’s gonna be all your incoming 7th graders participating in athletics and then any first-time band participant,” United Regional Head Athletic Trainer Jeremy Woodward said. “If a student is new to the district and new to the activity, the recommend getting a physical as well.”

Pre COVID-19, student-athletes and band members had to get checked out once every odd year.
That means before heading into 7th, 9th and 11th grade.

“Some school districts do require annual physicals every year, but for sure the medical history is very important and that is a requirement regardless of the school district you’re in,” Woodward said.

“The medical history is really kind of that first questionnaire that kind of helps guide the physician or the provider through the physical exam.”

Medical history must be updated each and every year, not only is it the guide for the provider during an exam, but it’s crucial for coaches, band directors and trainers.

It could also bring to light a health condition a student didn’t know they had.

“A lot of times unfortunately kiddos may not pass their sports physical because they may have to have some further work-up or they may have some underlying problems that need to get figured out before they’re clear to participate,” Woodward said.

Woodward said this year, United Regional sports physical clinics will be adjusted to meet health safety guidelines.

“We’re going to enforce wearing masks when coming in, really try to limit the number of parents or guardians coming with their student participants to one with one athlete, to cut down on the volume that we might see, the number of people, we are going to enforce social distancing,” Woodward said.

If you dream of making varsity football or hitting a home run for your high school, you first have to take care of your body.

“We do a screening of vision, vision acuity, see what their vision is like, we’ll do a musculoskeletal exam, we’ll do a basic vital signs, blood pressure, pulse, height, weight,” Woodward said.

As for when to get the examination, Woodward said summer months are ideal. He said to not get it done too far in advance or last minute.

The upcoming United Regional physical clinics are set for:

  • Tuesday, July 14 starting at 3:00 p.m.  @ City View High School  (City View students only)
  • Saturday, July 25 starting at 8:00 a.m. @ Hirschi High School   (WFISD students only)

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