Laying the Groundwork for Athlete Physicals

As we start preparing for the upcoming seasons, it is important you begin by asking some questions to lay the groundwork for how you will encourage your athletes to get their physical exams. These questions will generally address how, where, and when your athletes should be having these physical exams done. Due to the changing nature of the healthcare landscape, as well as occasional updates to school and district policies, this is a process that should occur every year.


First, answer the question of "How will I encourage my athletes to get their physical exams?"

  • Am I planning to conduct mass physical exams?
    • Do I have the healthcare providers to make this possible?
    • Do I have the auxiliary staff to make this possible?
    • Do I have the necessary technology/equipment to make this possible?
    • Some organizations recommend against this
  • Will I encourage athletes to see their regular physician for a physical exam?
    • How early should we tell them to schedule their physical exam?
    • Do we address the possibility of insurance denying a second exam in a single year?
  • Are there local health clinics or medical practices offering any discounted "Sports Screenings"?
    • Is this exam worth the discount?
    • Do we recommend a single clinic, every clinic that has an offer, or something in the middle?
    • What times do these clinics offer their physical exams?

Conducting Mass Physicals

Once the decisions above are made, you will have additional choices about whether you are conducting physical exams in-house or sending your athletes out to providers. If you are conducting mass physicals, you will next need to think through the specific steps of conducting these exams.  Decision Number 1 is whether to continue using actual paper forms or shifting to a paperless electronic system such as DragonFly MAX.  Ask these questions:

  • Is going completely paperless the best option?
  • Can I have my athletes do everything electronically except for the physical exam?
  • What if a physician doesn't want to learn the new technology?
  • How do I deal with stragglers and no-shows?

We've provided links in the list above to show how DragonFly MAX can help you answer each of these questions.  You'll also be able to learn more about next steps in our coming article on Planning for Mass Physical Exam Day.