Sports are a fantastic hobby for children to take part in. We all know that playing sports and staying active offers countless benefits. It keeps our heart and lungs healthy, makes for stronger bones, and helps us build muscle. However, before anyone starts sports, they should make sure their body is ready for the impact and stress of being active. That’s why sports physicals are required for children and college athletes before they are allowed to compete.
A sports physical is a pre-participation physical exam (PPE) that determines whether it’s safe for an individual to join or participate in a particular sport. It also includes recommendations for how athletes can maintain their health and reduce their risk of injury. Most states require students to have a sports physical before they can play school sports. But even if a sports physical isn’t required, doctors still recommend getting one if you are active in any sports. Here are why sports physicals are necessary and how they help prevent injury.
What Do Sports Physicals Consist Of?
The two main parts of a sports physical are the medical history and the physical exam. The medical history is to get a good understanding of their current health, as well as past and future conditions. The medical history form may include questions on:
- medical problems that run in the family
- medical problems and illnesses that you have, such as asthma, diabetes, or COVID-19
- previous hospitalizations or surgeries
- past injuries (including concussions, sprains, or broken bones)
- whether you’ve ever passed out, felt dizzy, had chest pain, or had trouble breathing during exercise
- any medicines that you are taking (including over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, and prescription medications)
When it comes to the physical exam, the doctor will first ensure that any previous injuries are not interfering with the athlete’s growth, health, and ability to perform. Additionally, the doctor will cover a few main things like checking height and weight as well as their blood pressure and pulse. Vitals like one’s vision, heart, lungs, and abdomen as well as ears, nose, and throat will be checked during the physical exam. Boys will be asked about testicle pain and girls will be asked about their periods. The doctor will also ask about smoking and vaping, alcohol, drugs, diet pills, or performance-enhancing supplements, including steroids.
Why Is a Sports Physical Important?
A sports physical can help find out about and deal with health problems that might interfere with your sports performance or increase the chance of getting hurt or having a serious injury. According to the Agency for Health Quality, of the 144.8 million total ER visits in the United States in 2017, almost 20% involved an injury. A sports physical allows the doctor to catch something that may cause issues during a child’s time in sports. To help athletes remain healthy and safe, sports physicals have continued to be required for most states.
Where Can You Go To Get a Sports Physical?
There are a couple of options when it comes to the location of your sports physical. You can visit your normal doctor for one or visit a place like ours at Care Station Medical Group. Some schools even have doctors visit campus to complete sports physicals. Schedule your sports physical at least 6 weeks before your sports season starts. If your doctor finds a problem, this should leave enough time for tests or treatment, if needed. Additionally, sports physicals are usually good for 1 year, though you probably will have to complete a sports form each season.
To ensure your athlete has the necessary medical information needed to compete, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us. For more information on what is covered in the exam or what else you may need to do to ensure the proper medical history information is shared, be sure to get in touch with us today.