Fort Worth, Texas,
13:32 PM

Why Sports Physicals Matter In the 'Age of COVID-19'

By Michelle Bailey, M.D.

Is it necessary to get a sports physical this year?

After all, are we even going to have sports this year? Plus, in the age of COVID, you may feel hesitant to bring your child to a pediatrician’s office right now.

I understand your concern about going to a doctor’s office, but I promise it’s never been a better time to be seen! We have increased our cleaning protocol, which was already great, in the office and we want you to rest assure we have a clean and safe environment for you and your child.

So to answer your question in short, YES. Let’s take a look at why a sports physical is so important.

Not only is a yearly sports physical required by the school district to be cleared for sports, going to your pediatrician for a yearly well check-up is vital to the health of your child. At a wellness visit, we review growth and development, catch up on vaccines, address any concerns from the child or parent, as well as perform a complete physical exam. We also assess vision, hearing and order any labs or imaging deemed necessary.

It is far better to obtain your child’s sports physical from board-certified pediatricians, such as a Cook Children’s physician, who perform a complete well child checklist. Specific to the sports physical component, we take a heart history of the patient and family and check from head to toe for any joint or muscle issues. So even if your child’s sport gets postponed or canceled because of our current pandemic, this is a great way to evaluate the health of your young athlete.

In 2019, over 495,000 boys and 330,000 girls participated in high school athletics in Texas. Participating in sports is a great way for your child to remain physically active. Healthy bodies fight off infections such as COVID-19 better. We recommend at least one hour of strenuous physical activity daily (this means the heart is pumping hard, and you’re breaking a sweat!).

During the sports physical/ well check, we are making sure the heart is capable to handle this elevated level of activity. One specific condition we evaluate for during a sports physical is a potentially fatal heart condition called HOCM (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy) that has been found to occur in 1 out of every 500 adults, and can cause sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Your pediatrician will evaluate if your child has an increased risk of HOCM, and we can refer him or her to a Cook Children’s cardiologist for timely assessment. If you’ve ever heard Cook Children’s referred to as a system, this is where it comes in handy. Your pediatrician actually works with the cardiologist to provide history and get your child seen quickly.

Heart ailments and many other diseases can be evaluated at your sports physical. Please call your pediatrician today and schedule your child’s sports physical. School starts in less than three weeks!


Raj MA, Bansal P, Goyal A. Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. [Updated 2020 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from:

Number of participants in high school athletic programs in Texas 2009-2019

Published by Christina Gough, Aug 30, 2019

Get to know Michelle Bailey, M.D.

I’m a board-certified pediatrician, passionate about ensuring the well-being of patients ranging from newborn through late teens.

I attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma (Boomer!), and completed my pediatric residency in Houston.

Since the completion of residency I’ve worked in outpatient clinics and enjoy not only caring for my young patients, but becoming a part of every family by building long-lasting, trusting relationships. While I treat common and not-so-common childhood infections and diseases, I especially have a passion for asthma and allergies, nutrition, and ADHD along with other learning disorders.

I’m married and we have a rescue dog named Jack. When not at work, I enjoy attending cultural events and traveling. To make an appointment with Dr. Bailey, click here or call 682-303-1000.

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