‘Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play’ UofL pediatrician answers common questions about sports physicals

    Heather Felton
    Heather M. Felton, M.D.

    University of Louisville pediatrician Heather M. Felton, M.D., wants parents to know that it is never too early to obtain required sports physical exams for students. In fact, now is the time to schedule the sports physical for the student athlete in your family by calling UofL Pediatrics at 502-588-0700.

    Below, Felton provides answers to the most-asked questions about sport physicals:

    What is a sports physical?

    A sports physical is a comprehensive history and physical. In Kentucky, the sports physical form comes from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and can be found on the association’s website at http://khsaa.org. In Indiana, the form can be obtained from the Indiana High School Athletic Association at http://www.ihsaa.org/. The form must be signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or chiropractor (if it is within their scope of practice).

    Who needs a sports physical?

    In both Kentucky and Indiana, any middle school or high school student who plans to participate in a sport under the athletic association for that state will need a sports physical. You can always get a sports physical. It is better to have one and not have to use it than to miss out on playing.

    How often do I have to get a sports physical?

    A sports physical form is good for one calendar year. If you have your sports physical done in the spring semester, then it will still be good in the fall of the next school year.

    I had a school physical; is that the same thing?

    No. In Louisville, the Jefferson County Public Schools’ physical form is different from the sports physical form. If you need a sports form, then you must ask for it specifically.

    When should I have my sports physical?

    You should give yourself plenty of time before your physical is due. The doctor’s office gets busy as everyone is getting ready to go back to school, so make your appointment early. Most people don’t think about it at the end of the school year or early summer, but this is a great time to beat the rush. Also, if your doctor finds an abnormality in the physical, then you may need additional work-up before you are cleared to play sports, so you want to give yourself plenty of time.

    Is there anything I can do to be ready for my sports physical?

    The Kentucky sports physical form is long and has approximately 60 questions to answer before you see your doctor. You can download your form from the KHSAA website prior to your appointment and have it already filled out. The forms for other leagues are similarly lengthy. If you don’t have a form, ask for it as soon as you get to your doctor’s office. You can fill out the form in the waiting room and it will save you some time once see the doctor.

    Where can I find out more information about sports physicals?

    Contact UofL Pediatrics at 502-588-0700  or visit the websites of the KHSAA, JCPS Sports or the Catholic Sports Athletic Association.


    Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.