The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) requires all Wisconsin junior and senior high students to verify their physical health and fitness every 2 years before participating in school-sponsored sports programs.
During a pre-participation exam, a qualified medical professional assesses your child’s fitness level and his or her ability to take part in school athletic programs. WIAA sports physicals:
On the off-year, a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Alternate Year Athletic Permit Card must be completed by the student athlete's parent or guardian and submitted to the school before your child can participate in practices or games.
Before the sports physical, a parent or a guardian must complete the history portion of the WIAA Preparticipation Physical Evaluation Form. Providers will use the information to discuss the student’s current health and assess his or her ability to take part in sports without the risk of injury or stress-induced complications of a pre-existing condition.
While there are certainly similarities between well-child visits and sports physicals, the latter is primarily concerned with your child’s physical fitness level as it relates to participation in school-led athletic programs. To determine eligibility, the providers conducting physical evaluations will focus on areas of health and wellness related to athletic participation.
Several area health organizations volunteer their time to provide this community service to students in Central Wisconsin. Twenty dollars of the $25 fee is donated to the athletic program at the student's school. The remaining $5 supports community projects sponsored by Wisconsin Valley Athletic Medicine such as ImPACT baseline concussion testing for local school and youth sports teams.
During the sports physical clinic, a team of medical volunteers provides comprehensive physical exams to as many students as possible. To enhance the efficiency of the evening, students visit a series of seven stations. Each station is staffed by medical professionals who review information or examine students for specific health conditions. Our exam stations include:
Station #1: Medical History Review - Registered nurses review each child’s medical history and note pertinent information for the medical providers who will see the child later in the exam.
Station #2: Height and Weight Screening - Each child has his or her height and weight recorded to help the medical providers determine whether the student is underweight or overweight.
Station #3: Vital Sign Screening - Each child's blood pressure and pulse are recorded. Unusual readings are noted and may be rechecked at the end of the exam. If subsequent readings are outside normal ranges, the clinician may recommend the student follow-up with his or her primary care provider.
Station #4: Vision Screening - Volunteers from Envision Eyecare assess each student's visual acuity. During a physical examination, each student's eyes will be screened for possible retinal or neurological problems. Each young athlete will receive information about eye protection while playing sports.
Station #5: Orthopaedic and Musculoskeletal Screening - *Volunteers from Sport & Spine Physical Therapy assess each student's general range of motion, strength and balance as they discuss recent or past injury issues the teen may have experienced. An orthopaedic physician or surgeon is available, as needed, for consultation.
Station #6: General Exam - Each student receives a general evaluation of his or her heart and lung sounds along with an assessment of his or her eyes, ears, nose, throat, lymph nodes, abdomen and skin conditions. During the general exam, students can discuss health and wellness concerns with the medical provider. If there are any medical concerns, the provider will discuss specific recommendations for follow-up care with the student's parent or guardian. Volunteers from ENT Associates also may be available for consultations regarding asthma and allergies.
Station #7: Check Out - At the final station, a physician will check the completed form and clear the student for participation. If a health condition prevents participation, the clinician will explain the medical reason and provide recommendations for follow-up care.
According to WIAA Medical Policies and Procedures, preparticipation physicals must be performed by:
If your child recently had an annual physical exam or wellness check within the last year, talk to your provider. Often yearly health checkups, satisfy the WIAA’s preparticipation exam criteria.
WIAA sports physicals are valid for 2 years. However, it's important to keep the date of April 1 in mind. The policies and procedures state that a physical performed prior to April 1 is good for the remaining school year and the following year.
A sports physical performed after April 1, is valid for two complete school years.
It’s wise to have your child’s physical completed before the regular practice season begins. Students cannot take part in practice without a physical.
Another reason to schedule sports physicals sooner rather than later is the opportunity to follow-up on a medical diagnosis. If a health concern is detected, you will have time to confirm the diagnosis and learn more about the condition and its impact on eligibility.
The WIAA also recommends students have an oral exam by a licensed dentist to evaluate oral health.
If you would like more information on WIAA approved physicals, call 800.432.6462.
WIAA Medical Policies and Procedures
Wisconsin Valley Athletic Medicine
Since 2014, Bone & Joint has donated over $10,000 to school athletic programs in North Central Wisconsin.
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Medford, WI 54451
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Merrill, WI 54452
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Plover, WI 54467
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Wausau, WI 54401
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