A pre-participation physical examination, also known as a sports physical, helps determine whether an adult or child is physically capable of participating in a sport safely. Additionally, Spring sports physicals offer an easy way to talk to a healthcare professional if you are starting a new sport or exercise routine. A sports physical mainly focuses on health history that may directly impact someone’s ability to play a sport. Therefore, it should not take the place of an annual physical checkup. Although a sports physical typically covers much of what happens during an annual physical, it is best to schedule a separate yearly checkup for your little one.
Who needs a sports physical?
All student-athletes must complete a sports physical before participating in any school-sanctioned sport. Non-student athletes or those playing in a club or recreational sports also need to pass a sports physical before hitting the field. Sometimes kids are sent home with the necessary forms, but as we know, more often than not, the paper gets lost, torn, or misplaced. The best resource for information related to any required sports physical are coaches and school administrators.
What to bring to your child’s sports physical
Getting a sports physical for your child can be easy if you bring proper identification and the appropriate sports physical form for your state. You should fill out your child’s sports physical form, which often includes consent, certification, detailed health history, and signatures. The specific form you need may be available online on your state’s athletic association website. Remember to include a list of your child’s medications, injuries, recent surgeries, and illnesses. It gives the provider a complete understanding of anything that may put your child at risk.
What happens during a sports physical?
A nurse or other clinical staff member will check your or your child’s vitals, including height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse. The documentation of weight and height may seem basic, but this is important since growth spurts and weight changes can place extra stress on bones, joints, and muscles.
An eye exam is also part of sports physicals. The aim is to establish whether the athlete has clear vision or needs prescription lenses. Next is a medical history review for the provider to identify potential problems that may require further testing or activity restrictions.
Finally, the doctor performs a fitness check and a thorough physical exam to ensure the athlete has no physical limitations affecting their ability to play safely. The doctor will check joints’ strength, posture, and flexibility to identify areas prone to injuries and suggest exercises and tips to build a healthier body.
How long are sports physicals valid?
Sports physicals are valid for at least a year, but it is best to check with your child’s school or league. This is because some states require a sports physical before each sports season, even if they fall within the same year.
If your child is an athlete, book an appointment with the doctor at Comprehensive Care Clinic for sports physicals to ensure they are healthy to hit the field.