Each year, parents prepare for the upcoming Little League® season in a variety of ways. While some of that might be spent buying a new glove or bat, and taking some extra swings in the batting cage, or backyard workouts, don’t overlook your child’s general health checkups before the season.
Routine trips to the family doctor, dentist, and optometrist can go a long way toward making the coming season a healthy and fun Little League experience.
The common physical would check for such potential problems as breathing and balance; while a trip to the dentist can help to fit the player for corrective braces or a protective mouthpiece; and the eye doctor would help to ensure child’s vision and eye health will set them up for a successful season.
Physical ExaminationAlthough playing in Little League does not require a physical exam as part of its participation requirements, an annual check-up is an important preventive care measure. According to Cigna, preventive care services are provided when you don’t have any symptoms and haven’t been diagnosed with a health issue connected with the preventive service. They typically are provided during a wellness exam. Annual check-ups can help you and your family maintain your health as well as possibly identify and treat illnesses early on. Cigna has provided a useful checklist to help you prepare for you and your child’s annual check-up.
Eye ExaminationAccording to Visionworks, 1 in 4 school aged children, are unaware that they have a vision problem. By visiting an optometrist annually, you may discover that the success, both within the classroom and on the field, may be affected by poor vision. Wearing corrective lenses and protective frames can help with catching and hitting the ball, while limiting the risk of injury during live game play. Having peace of mind to know that your child is seeing the world clearly, certainly can improve their performance and confidence.
Age Examination Frequency
|Birth to 24 months||By 6 months of age or as recommended*|
|2 to 5 years||At 3 years of age*|
|5 to 19 years||Annually|
|19 to 60 years||Every one to two years or as recommended|
|61 and older||Annually or as recommended|
|*Children age 4 or younger should see a pediatric optometrist or ophthalmologist.|
Dental AppointmentConsidering the possible ways that a child can receive damage to their mouth, teeth, and jaw, scheduling a visit to the dentist or orthodontist is always a good idea. If you already take your child for regular cleanings, take advantage of that time by asking the doctor if a retainer or braces may be in your child’s future. Whether your Little Leaguer is currently wearing a corrective apparatus of some form, or may be in the future, discuss your child’s athletic pursuits with your dentist to get direct, personal advice on whether or not you should consider having a mouthpiece professionally fitted or purchasing a helmet with a face shield.
There are several other questions that a physician can help to answer as you strive to protect your child. Be diligent with personal health and safety in the same way that Little League’s A Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) encourages robust and impactful league- and district-wide safety initiatives. By taking the initiative to visit these health care professionals, you are making the decision to put your Little Leaguer’s well-being at the top of the priority list and being fully ready for a new season.
-- Cigna is the official health insurance partner of Little League; Visionworks is the official eye care partner of Little League Baseball