Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes vacations, lake time and other events. While back-to-school may seem far off, if your child or children are participating in sports next year, it’s time to start thinking about scheduling a sports physical. Whether your child is starting middle school or is a college-aged athlete, don’t let the requirements of sports sneak up on you.

A sports physical, also known as a preparticipation physical examination (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 is valid for one year. If it’s completed now, it will cover the 2023-24 year.

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.

The form is available online at (North Dakota) and at (Minnesota). Please bring a physical copy when you come in for your 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.

• 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.

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