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Sports Physical vs Child Wellness Exam

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A wellness exam is one of the best ways to keep your child healthy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children age five and older get one every year. If your school-aged child plays sports, you know they are required to get a sports physical. But it’s important to note that the two exams are not the same.

Southwestern Medical Clinic Pediatrician Georg Schultz, MD, says sports physicals are just a quick screen.

“Ideally every kid should have a regular wellness exam.” said Dr. Schultz. “It provides a strong base for understanding their overall health. It’s also more in-depth than a sports physical, and there’s a much better chance that the physician will catch any serious health issues.”  

During a wellness exam, the provider will perform a complete examination of your child from head to toe. This includes a check of your child’s vital signs: blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, respiration rate, and body temperature. The provider will use a stethoscope to listen to your child’s heart and lungs, test their reflexes, examine extremities and genitals, and inspect the throat and tonsils. Parents are also asked to complete a detailed questionnaire about their family’s medical history.

Other things to Consider:

  • Wellness Exams are completely covered by insurance
  • Wellness Exams count as your child’s sports physical
  • Beat the rush - Summer is the busiest time to schedule a physical

Southwestern Medical Clinic pediatric providers in both Niles and Stevensville are accepting new patients. Call (269) 687-0200 to schedule your child's wellness visit in Niles, and (269) 429-6604 for Stevensville.

Here's a more detailed look at the difference between sports physicals and wellness exams:

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