Visits include ability to complete sports physical forms

As summer slips past and a new school year approaches, Essentia Health is making it more convenient than ever to schedule well-child/teen visits, which include the completion of mandatory sports physical forms.

These visits are for anyone from birth to age 21 and are recommended annually to ensure your child is healthy. At a well-child/teen visit, your pediatrician or primary care provider will:

• Perform a physical exam

• Give the child necessary shots, such as vaccinations for HPV, meningitis or COVID-19

• Track your child’s growth and ask about development and behavior

• Talk about illness prevention, nutrition and physical fitness, as well as health and safety

• Talk about how to handle emergencies and sudden illness

• Discuss any mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression

Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, an Essentia Health pediatrician, said the focus during a well-child/teen visit is to ensure the patient is healthy — both physically and mentally — and, for athletes, that it’s safe for them to compete and engage in rigorous activity. He and his colleagues screen for underlying cardiovascular disease or heart arrythmias the patient and their family wouldn’t otherwise know about, and which could present a serious risk to athletic competition. When it’s age-appropriate, they also discuss things like substance abuse, proper dieting and sexual health.

Evaluating that information while already knowing a patient’s medical history underscores the benefits of primary care. There’s a strong foundation already in place.

“We thrive on establishing long-term relationships with our patients and their families,” Dr. KenKnight said. “This is what we’re all about. We know the families, we know what’s going on and it just makes it easier to take care of kids. They trust us.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, well-child/teen visits are especially important. Click here for more information, including a list of the top questions to ask your child’s provider. There, you can schedule a virtual or in-person visit, which also can be done via the Essentia Health MyChart patient portal. Well-child/teen visits can be completed by a pediatrician or primary care provider. Many insurance companies cover one such visit per year; contact yours to check on coverage.

If you are interested only in completing sports physical forms, please contact your local clinic to make an appointment or to see if they have any upcoming sports physical sessions.