Importance of sport physicals during pandemic


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Student athletes are looking forward to getting back into practice as school starts back up. But beforehand, doctors recommend a sport physical.

Carlee Laubach is excited to be back at school this year, attending Canton High School as a sophomore. But school isn’t the only thing that has her glad to be back.

“I am in volleyball, basketball, and track,” Laubach said.

In past years, sports physicals weren’t required for student athletes in Canton. But due to the potential effects of COVID-19 on a student’s mental health, the school is now requiring them.

“There is a lot of importance to a physical. Especially a sports physical in terms of the education that can be provided, and the health benefits or limitations that may be identified,” Rohlfs said.

In addition to an examination to deem patients physically healthy to play sports, Sanford Health Dr. Karsten Rohlfs says mental health is also an important aspect of a sport physical.
And that’s even more true as students navigate changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of the anxieties that are involved are not necessarily about the symptoms or the illness or fear of life, but it’s a lot of the other ramifications that, that the illness can, can involve too, such as social requirements and being held out for 14 days from school and parents have a, you know, staying home to care for their sick children or vice versa,” Rohlfs said.

“It impacted me with ways of not being able to see everyone I wanted to see and not being able to do everything, I wanted to see everything, I wanted to do. And it just made everything feel like, like I wasn’t allowed to do things like I was in trouble or something. Cause you kind of, it was rough, but I got through it,” Laubach said.

Laubach recently had her sports physical and says she is happy that mental health is a part of the appointment.

“I think that’s pretty cool that they’re focusing on that because there are some teenagers that could have mental health issues. And it’s good that they’re focusing on that to help with teenagers,” Laubach said.

Dr. Rohlfs adds that if your insurance doesn’t cover a sport physical, you can set up a well-being check instead.

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