What is a Sports Physical?

Wondering if your child or teen needs a sports physical? Also called a preparticipation examination, most schools require parents to get a physical for their child when they want to participate in sports. Even if a school does not require a child or teen to get a physical, which ensures that they are strong and healthy enough to participate, it is still recommended that parents take their child or teen to get a physical to be on the safe side. Current recommendations suggest that parents get their child or teen a sports physical before each school year begins.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Sports Medicine both recommend that children and teenagers get a complete sports physical performed at each new level of participation.

What is a sports physical?

A sports physical refers to a physical examination performed by a medical professional in order to approve a child or teenager to participate in a certain physical activity. The entire physical only takes about 15 minutes to perform and includes basic physical procedures, like taking their blood pressure, checking their vision and measuring their height and weight. It also includes a thorough check of their eyes, ears, nose, throat, lungs, heart, abdomen, joints, bones and muscles. The medical professional will look into their medical history and accordingly address any issues that may be present.

What do sports physicals look for in particular?

During the physical, a medical professional will specifically look for any issues that may increase the child or teen's risk of injury, assess their current fitness level, address any pre-existing injuries and assess their level of physical maturity in order to offer a report on their general health.

What if a problem is found?

If a medical problem is found during the physical, then the medical professional will offer potential solutions in order to form a treatment plan. Even if a problem is found, it is still possible for the child or teen to participate in the sport of their choice.

Where does someone go to get a sports physical?

While a sports physical can be obtained in a few different places, it is still necessary for it to be performed by a medical professional. A community health center is one option and normally does not require an appointment. A primary care physician can also perform sports physicals but does require an appointment. Many schools will provide sports physicals for their students for convenience reasons and are often conducted during normal school hours.

Is your child or teen in need of a sports physical?

Now that you understand what a sports physical entails, are you ready to make an appointment for your child or teen so you can both know the current condition of their overall general health? Having your child or teenager undergo a physical is not only necessary when it comes to making sure your child or teen is in good health, but it also allows the ability to check their neurological functions, as this directly relates to their good reflexes, coordination and overall strength.

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