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July 18, 2012 06:13 PM

Wellness Exam vs. Sports Physical

sioux falls, sd

In just a few weeks, practice begins for high school athletes across KELOLAND.  That means doctors' schedules are filling up with physical exams.

In Sioux Falls, the school district is encouraging student athletes to get a wellness exam instead of the traditional physical.

12-year-old Tanner Kippes is excited to soon start seventh grade and participate in several sports.

"I'm going to play football, basketball and track," Tanner said.

But before suiting up for the season, Tanner and his mom are stopping by their doctor's office for a wellness exam.

"It's a good idea to see the same physician yearly. They can notice any slight changes in growth patterns that might cause concern, or he can monitor health issues," Tanner's mom, Carmen Kippes, said.

Not only does a student see his or her primary doctor during a wellness exam, but doctors also ask more questions, rather than just going over a checklist.

"And there's going to be hopefully a more in-depth history and go over a lot more things that aren't typically covered in just a sports physical exam," Sanford Dr. Brad Hruby said.

During school physicals, kids often only got their physical health checked out, but these wellness exams also check out a child's mental health.

"All the stress that's associated with schools, whether it's bullying or stress and struggles in schools, even kids with ADD that are struggling, we'll sit down and talk about those issues," Hruby said.

As for Kippes, the doctor says he's healthy and ready to start football.  And Tanner has high hopes.

"I want to play in the NFL, but if that doesn't happen, I want to be a mechanical engineer like my dad," Tanner said.

While athletes only have to get a wellness check every three years, parents must fill out a pre-participation health history report every year in case a student's health changes.

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