A boy playing baseball with his red and white uniform
pediatric billings clinic

Safely Participate in Sports

A sports physical is a required exam for children and teens before they can participate in an organized sport or physical activity. The purpose of a sports physical is to make sure your child can safely participate in their chosen sport and reduce their risk of developing an injury.

The Montana High School Association (MHSA) requires all children and teens who want to participate in sports to have a sports physical before their first practice.

The team of board-certified pediatric providers at the Children’s Clinic performs the required sports physical and paperwork, providing care for families and their kids living in and around Billings, Montana, from their clinics on the West End and downtown.

Sports Physical Q&A

Schedule your child’s sports physical now so they can safely participate when the time comes. Call the Children's Clinic or request an appointment online.

When should I schedule a sports physical?

The Children's Clinic team recommends you schedule your child’s sports physical when you schedule their annual well-child exam. Any completed sports physical performed after May 1st is good for the entire fall sports season.

Scheduling your child’s sports physical early ensures your child gets their required physical well before the start of school and their first practice.

You may also have an easier time getting an appointment on a day and at a time that’s more convenient for you when you schedule your child’s sports physical early, rather than waiting until the start of school. We tend to book up by the end of July for all appointments before school starts, so please call early to schedule your appointment, even if you don’t pick an appointment slot until August!

Scheduling an appointment well before your child plans to participate in their chosen sport also gives the team time to discuss confidential health issues and coordinate care with specialists when needed.

Additionally, scheduling your child’s sports physical early ensures your child meets with their provider — rather than whichever provider just happens to have availability — who’s already familiar with their health history.

Typically, when you combine a well-child exam with a sports physical, your appointment is 100% covered by insurance, so there’s no out-of-pocket cost.

What happens during a sports physical?

A sports physical at the Children's Clinic is a comprehensive evaluation of your child’s health and well-being in relation to their chosen sport. Your pediatrician asks specific questions about your child’s health outlined on the MHSA athletic participation form.

That includes their medical history, types of medications and supplements they take, and exercise tolerance. They perform a physical exam, paying close attention to your child’s heart and lungs, muscle strength and balance, and joint flexibility.

When combined with your child’s annual well-child visit, your pediatrician also updates their vaccines as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP). We also complete other recommended screenings, such as screenings for depression and anxiety.

Your pediatrician makes referrals and schedules follow-up visits as needed, and completes the required paperwork for your child’s school or sports program.