“It gets crazy. Every day I laugh when I look at my schedule because I’m like, ‘what? Is this physical day today?”
Pediatric nurse practitioner Katrina Thoma says keeping up with summer physicals is practically a sport itself at the Sadler Health Center in Carlisle.
Her best piece of advice; don’t wait. She said physicals should ideally be scheduled at least a month in advance.
“Lots of parents come in the office and say, ‘can you get this done today. My kid can’t go to practice tonight,” she said. “It gets a little hectic when you try to figure out how you’re helping this parent when you don’t have space to make it happen.”
And Thoma says don’t assume that just because your child appears healthy, there isn’t a cause for concern.
“It may be a pain that you’re doing it every year, but kids change,” Thoma said. “Kids grow. Things happen. So it’s important to get them every year.”
Some of the biggest issues she finds are concussions, asthma that has not been previously diagnosed and heart defects.
“Really it’s looking to find out if they have anything that could potentially cause an injury,” Thoma said. “So it’s muscular-skeletal. I’m listening to heart, lungs that kind of stuff. And the other thing I look for in my kids is neuro-muscular, to make sure their balance is okay…to make sure their balance is good that we’re not missing anything that’s maybe raising its head and we don’t know about yet.”
The physical form is required by the PIAA to participate in sports. Many parents often ask Thoma if she can just sign it without seeing the child. She said medical professionals should only do that if they really know the child and that child has been examined in the past six months.