Essentia Health encourages well-child/teen visits before fall sports and the school year

Visits include the completion of mandatory sports physical forms and are for anyone from birth to age 21. They are recommended annually.

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BRAINERD — Essentia Health encourages well-child/teen visits as fall sports and the school year approach.

Visits include the completion of mandatory sports physical forms and are for anyone from birth to age 21. They are recommended annually.

“Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of preventive-care checkups such as these declined precipitously,” Essentia Health said in a news release. “It’s important to get back on track.”

At a well-child/teen visit, a pediatrician or primary care provider will conduct a comprehensive physical exam, take measurements like height and weight, discuss any mental health concerns, update all immunizations or vaccinations, complete sports physical forms and talk about health and safety issues, including illness prevention, nutrition and physical fitness.

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Essentia Health experts say the goal is to ensure the patient’s physical and mental health, identify areas of concern and ensure safety for fall sports. That’s why visits feature screens for underlying cardiovascular disease or heart arrhythmias the patient and their family wouldn’t otherwise know about that could present a serious risk to athletic competition.


Children and teenagers have developed long-term health concerns following COVID-19 infections. One of the more common setbacks is damage to the heart. In severe cases, this could present as heart inflammation and potentially result in sudden cardiac arrhythmia, causing the heart to beat either too fast or too slow. Damage to the heart can be accompanied by mild symptoms that may not raise red flags.

“Well-child visits are a great time to make sure your child or teen is healthy in all areas of life – growth, cognitive and social development, illness prevention, mental health and more,” Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, Essentia Health pediatrician, said in the news release. “We are excited every year to partner with parents to get to know families and to make sure kids are thriving in every way possible.”

When age-appropriate, topics like substance abuse, healthy eating and sexual health also are discussed at well-child/teen visits.

Visit Essentia Health’s well-child/teen check page for more information, including a list of the top questions to ask your child’s provider. Virtual or in-person visits can be scheduled on that webpage or via the Essentia Health MyChart patient portal.

If you are interested only in completing sports physical forms, contact your local clinic to make an appointment.

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