Physical Exams

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.

Planning for Mass Physical Exam Day

So you've made the decision to host Mass Physical Exams for you school.  Now let's get down to the details of making all of this work.  First things are we going to get all of this paperwork ready?

It's quite easy with DragonFly MAX.  Simply setup all of the necessary forms for your school in our website's "Schools & People" view.  From there you can easily assign requirements for completing forms electronically or via upload.  You can also build your own custom forms for your school in our Forms Library.  And any form you assign can be required for your entire school or athletes on a single team.  You can even create requirements for coaches to complete prior to the season.

So parents can go to and begin completing their paperwork as soon as you are ready! 


"But wait how will parents know what to do?"

You're going to need to get the message out to parents about how to get going with DragonFly MAX.  We've provided you with several helpful tools with this in mind:



The easiest way to help your parents learn about how to complete their child's paperwork and be ready for physical exams is to point them to DragonFly  We provide an obvious pop-up banner the first time a visitor arrives on our site asking "Do you need to complete participation forms?"  We then walk them through the steps to create their Parent account and complete the paperwork for their child.


The Sign-Up Handout

We've also included a one-page handout that you can share with your parents, athletes, and coaches to help get them signed up and heading in the right direction for completing their school requirements.  The handout can be found on the "Schools and People" page of our website OR in the slide out menu of the DragonFly MAX mobile app.  These handouts can be printed, emailed, or sent as another message...whatever you think will reach your people and help them get started.


You can also add a link on your school's website that takes your parents and athletes directly to a login page for your school.  These links are provided as a convenience if you want to point your parents to your school's website, rather than ours.  You can find the link for your school below the school's name on the "Schools & People" page when you are logged in to the DragonFly MAX website.

Those tools can be used in several ways.  The easiest would be to print the sign-up handout and send it home with your athletes.  You might also choose to send the handout, with a personally crafted message from your school, via email to all of your parents.  A third option that we recommend is to schedule team meetings at your school and have computer labs available for parents who want to finish this work before they leave the meeting.  These types of meeting may require an incentive (everyone likes a free meal) and not everyone will be able to attend on the day you choose.  But you can work something out to make this easy and convenient for everyone involved.


The Week Before Mass Physical Exams

Finally, we would encourage you to send out reminders about your upcoming physical exams to all of your parents during the week before.  Your reminder message might include the following information:

  • What information must parents bring with them?
    • Should parents print off their child's health history form to bring for the exam?
  • Is there a cost associated with the exams?
  • Do parents need to bring anything back from the doctor?
    • Are there expectations on parents after they leave?
    • How will they be informed of those expectations?

In our next article, we will walk through the nitty-gritty details about how you should setup your mass physical exam stations and be ready to handle all these athletes can throw at you.

Conducting Your Mass Physical Exams

Mass physical examinations are not a new concept for most schools.  However, each year they can lead to lots of stress for athletic directors, coaches, and athletic trainers.  Knowing this (and because our mission is to simplify sports medicine), DragonFly MAX can step in to make physical exams run smoothly.


Going Fully Electronic

For those that go whole hog and decide to use our entire electronic platform, including the electronic physical exam form, we have several suggestions of how to prepare.

  1. Make sure you have enough laptops or iPads for each individual at each exam station.
  2. Have a check-in station where clerical staff can look up an athlete's information in the "Schools & People" window and ensure they have completed all of their required participation forms prior to the exams.
  3. Provide a few additional computers for parents/athletes who don't complete their paperwork before arrival (they can also use the browser on their smartphones).
  4. Login to each computer prior to beginning physical exams with an administrator account.
  5. Open the "Schools & People" window in the DragonFly MAX website and make sure you have the following settings:
    • Viewing: Custom | Viewing: All Sports | Athletes | Everyone

Individual Stations

The next step is to ensure that the providers at the individual stations (Height & Weight, Eye Exams, Blood Pressure, etc.) understand how to complete their sections of the exam.  To do so, they will complete the following steps:

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  1. Click on the name of the athlete in the "Schools & People" list.
  2. Select "Physical Examination" from the list of School Paperwork requirements.
  3. Click the button that says "Fill Out Electronically"
    • If a form has already been started, click that form from the list to continue with it.
  4. Enter the necessary information from your station in the appropriate fields.
  5. Click the back button in the top left corner of the page to return to the athlete's profile.
    • All information is saved automatically...nothing special to do there.

In The Physician's Exam Room

Additionally, it can be helpful to provide a scribe in each Physician's exam room.  This person could be a nurse, athletic trainer, or other provider who handles the forms to allow the physician to stay focused on the individual patient.  Having this role also prevents the line from slowing down.  The scribe should do the following things:

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  1. Look up the Athlete in the "Schools & People" list.
  2. Click to view the health history form including the "Yes" answers and explanations.
  3. Click the athlete's name to view their profile and finalize the Physical Examination Form.
  4. Have all fields completed for the Physician to sign at the end of his/her exam.
  5. Give the computer to the physician so he/she can add a signature to complete the physical examination form.

Sticking with Paper Copies

If you're going to stick with paper copies of the physical exam form, you may still need to follow some of the steps above.  For instance, using a paper copy of the physical examination form does not keep you from showing the physician an electronic copy of the health history form.  In that case, you will still want to have laptops/tablets in each exam room.

But if you don't want to deal with the technology at your mass physical exams, you will still want to provide the physician with a copy of the athlete's health history.  And since we don't want parents to repeat the health history when they arrive, you have a decision to make.  Do we: 1) print copies of each athlete's completed health history form to hand them at check-in with a blank physical exam form OR 2) ask parents to print these copies before coming to physical exams?

That choice is completely up to you.  We have seen organizations have success doing both methods.  The common decision makers seems to be how confident you feel in whether parents will follow-through and how much you think this will affect the flow of your athletes through the line to have their physical exams.


End of the Line

If you go with this paper process, you will also need to determine how to handle checkout procedures at the end of the line.  Some of our schools choose to collect the forms from each athlete at the time of checkout.  Those files can then be scanned by the school and uploaded into each athlete's DragonFly MAX profile.

Other schools decide to let parents/athletes take the completed physical examination form with them after the physicals.  If this is done, schools can then request for the parent to bring a copy to the school OR they can ask parents to use DragonFly MAX to upload a copy of the physical examination form into their child's DragonFly profile.  Either option allows you to convert the paper copy into an electronic file that can then be looked up online for later use.


Is that it???

Now that you've got the basics of how to handle the setup for your physical exams, it's just up to you to execute.  And we'll be here every step of the way in case you have any questions.  Just reach out to us through the Help Center and we'll be glad to answer any questions.

Up next, we share some simple steps to take after physicals are finished, so that everything is in order and you can start preparing for next year.

Follow-up After Physical Exam Day

Once Physical Exam Day is over, just prop your feet up, kick off your shoes, and grab an umbrella drink because there's no more work to be done...right???

Of course not.  There's plenty of work still to be done to make sure everyone on your teams is completely ready to play.  But DragonFly MAX makes it simple to do all of this work and quickly get you to that place of rest and relaxation. 

Here are some easy steps to help wrap things up:

Remind parents to upload or send in the completed Physical Exam Form

If you stuck with the paper route, you'll may need to make sure you get that paperwork back from your parents.  With DragonFly MAX, you can have them submit their child's paperwork through our website or mobile app.

Review all submitted Physical Exam Forms

The eligibility views in DragonFly MAX make it easy to see who has turned in their physical exam and when those physicals expire.  But it is important that you review that information.  Physicals completed electronically will automatically be approved based on whether the doctor cleared the athlete to participate or not.  But you will need to check for any uploaded forms for the following:

  • Is this the correct type of document?  Is the uploaded form appropriate for the current school year?
  • Was this document signed by the correct type of healthcare provider?
  • Does the uploaded physical exam say the athlete is "Cleared for Participation"? 
  • Are there any limitations noted?
  • Are any further evaluations necessary?

Reviewing these exams can be done quickly in DragonFly MAX and any documents that don't meet your requirements can be rejected, so that parents and athletes are aware of next steps they need to take.


Send Thank You Notes To Healthcare Providers

It's always great to receive a simple "Thank you" when you've worked hard for someone.  Drop a quick note in the mail to tell your doctors, nurses, and other staff how much you appreciate their help.  You could also ask them how they think things went.


Reach Out To Coaches & Parents About How The Process Went

Quality improvements year-over-year are a must.  And the best ideas generally happen right after the event.  So send out a quick survey asking for feedback.  General or specific, whatever information you can get will help you make things better for next year.


All of these recent articles have been helpful for those who conduct mass physical exams, but that isn't always possible.  In our next article, you can read about what to do if you aren't holding mass physical exams for your athletes.

What If We Don't Do Mass Physical Exams

Not every school is in a position where they can have mass physical exams for their students.  In some communities, there aren't enough healthcare providers to adequately handle a large-scale event such as this.  In some cases there are enough local providers, but they are not interested in participating due to liability or other business concerns.  It may be that an outside organization or clinic in your community already plans a similar event.  Or maybe you just don't have the time or resources to plan a large screening event such as this.

Whatever the reason may be, DragonFly MAX can still provide you a great benefit in managing the paperwork you receive from your student-athletes.  Since you will not be hosting a mass physical exam, you will need to setup procedures to gather the individual forms coming in from each student-athlete.  There are two easy options for gathering these forms and entering them into DragonFly MAX:

Let's explore those options in further detail.



With this option, school officials will collect the physical exam forms from the athlete (or his/her parents) and upload a copy of this form into the athlete's profile in DragonFly MAX.  This essentially lets you keep the process you have always had for collecting paper forms, except you will also have an electronic copy of the same form kept in the athlete's DragonFly MAX profile.

Once copies have been collected from your athletes, uploading them can be done easily through the DragonFly MAX mobile app:

  1. Tap on the Hurricane logo in the bottom tab menu.
  2. Tap on Add/Find User.
  3. Type in the athlete's name to find his/her profile.
  4. Once on the athlete's profile, tap on the camera icon in the bottom right corner.
  5. Choose "Take A Photo", then use the camera to take a picture of the Physical Exam Form to be added to the athlete's profile.


In the same way, it is easy to upload these copies through the DragonFly MAX website. After scanning the paper files into your computer, login in to DragonFly MAX & follow these steps:

  1. Click in the "Search" field in the DragonFly MAX website's menu.
  2. Type in the athlete's name to find his/her profile, then click on the profile card.
  3. Click the "Physical Examination" row in the athlete's "School Paperwork."
  4. You should now see an "Upload a Copy" button.  Click here to search for the appropriate file and add it to the athlete's profile.
  5. Next, set an "Effective Date" (the date of the exam) for the Physical Examination Form, then click "Done".  The form can now be approved from the Eligibility List.

Once the electronic form has been verified in the athlete's profile, you can decide whether you wish to keep the paper copy on file at the school, destroy the paper copy, or return the paper copy to the parent.


Parents Upload Forms

Parents can also upload documents to their child's profile. This can be a time-saving convenience to athletic directors and coaches, because they no longer have to perform these uploads for each individual athlete. Some schools may still want to verify by seeing a paper copy in hand, thus hesitating to encourage this with their parents. If your school is in this position, you can still ask parents to handle the upload while also requiring them to turn in the paper copy. Your school should make the decision that best suits your needs.

The steps for Parents to upload a child's forms are similar to those for schools. On the DragonFly MAX mobile app:

  1. Tap on your child's profile picture from the Today Menu.
  2. Once on your child's profile, tap on the camera icon in the bottom right corner.
  3. Choose "Take A Photo", then use the camera to take a picture of the Physical Exam Form to be added to the athlete's profile.


If using the DragonFly MAX website, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Today button in the menu to see your listed children.
  2. Beside your child's profile picture, click the "Upload a Document" button.
  3. On the left side of your child's profile, click the button that says "Upload", then search for the appropriate file on your computer and add it to your child's profile.

With those simple steps you can quickly get any and all physical exam forms (as well as other paper documents) into an athlete's profile. Mass Physical Exams or not, DragonFly MAX has a solution to help you keep your athlete's documents in order.