NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Summer is on its way, and vacations, lake time, and other things go with it.

But while back-to-school seems far away, if your child plan to participate in sports for the next school year, it’s time to schedule a sports physical.

According to a news release from Essentia Health, you shouldn’t let the requirements of sports sneak up, no matter what grade the child is in, including college-aged athletes.

A sports physical helps to determine whether or not it’s safe for a child to participate in certain sports.

Most states require student-athletes to have a sports physical before they can start a new sport, including any practices, or begin a new competitive season.

These physicals are only valid for one year, so if it’s done now, it will cover the 2023-24 year.

The physical can be done on its own or as part of a well-child/teen visit, and it’s recommended that the child has the physical at least six weeks before the season begins so there is time to do a follow-up if necessary.

The form is available online. Make sure to bring a physical copy when you go in. Non-Essentia patients are welcome.

You will learn three key things during a physical

  1. Whether it’s safe for the child to participate in a sport
  2. How to protect a child from injuries
  3. How to play safely with a medical condition or chronic illness

A sports physical is not the only way to make sure a child is healthy and thriving, a well-child/teen visit is one of the best ways. These visits review a child’s health in all areas — growth, cognitive and social development, illness prevention, mental health, and more.

You can schedule either of these visits through a pediatrician or family medicine provider. You can also schedule by calling (844) 663-1068, online, or through the Essentia MyChart patient portal.