Sports physicals, otherwise known as pre-participation physical examinations, are a requirement of many schools before a child can begin to compete in a sport. Sports physicals should occur around six (6) weeks before the planned activity to allow for any further evaluation or treatment that is warranted.
Here is what you can expect when taking your child to a primary care physician for a sports physical.
Sports Physicals–What Is It Intended For?
It is important to note that sports physicals do not replace annual well-child checkups/physicals. Sports physicals are focused on aspects of a child’s health that might impact their ability to play. While sports physicals do not prevent morbidity or mortality associated with sports participation, it is an important tool to detect conditions that predispose the athlete to injury or illness and can provide strategies for prevention. Sports physicals are performed with an intention to:
- Assess the child’s health and fitness level
- Screen for life-threatening injuries and existing illnesses
- Detect conditions that might increase sports injury risk
- Ensure the management of chronic medical conditions
- Equip parents with strategies to promote safe participation in sports and prevent injuries
What to Expect In a Sports Physical from a Primary Care Physician
A sports physical from a primary care physician will consist of a physical exam and medical history review. Medical history is essential to identifying 90% of a child’s medical problems and approximately 70% of musculoskeletal system problems. The primary care physician will review your child’s:
- Vaccination/immunization history, particularly tetanus shots
- History of eating disorder, weight gain, and weight loss
- History of any breathing problem, such as asthma
- Family history of medical illnesses
- History of dizziness, lightheadedness, or passing out during any strenuous physical activity
- Menstrual history
- Allergies and seizure history
- History of head injuries, fractures, concussion, memory problems, and chronic headaches
- Heart health and family history of heart problems
- Use of steroids, caffeine, creatine, alcohol, tobacco, and dietary supplements
- Mental health problems such as anxiety, worry, stress, nervousness, and depression
During a physical exam, the primary care physician focuses on the evaluation of your child’s:
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure
- Bones, muscles, and joints
- Heart (for conditions such as irregular heartbeat, murmurs, or Marfan syndrome)
- Extension, flexion, rotation, alignment, range of motion, strength, and balance
A patient’s personal and family history can uncover 88% of medical conditions and 67% of musculoskeletal problems, it is imperative that a parent accompany any patient under 18 to ensure an accurate history. If a problem is discovered, the primary care physician will recommend additional testing or treatment. They will work with you to develop a treatment and rehabilitation plan (if your child has an existing injury) with a goal to prepare your child before the sports season begins.
What Could Be the Possible Outcomes of A Sports Physical?
When done with the exam, your primary care physician will deem if your child is:
- Medically eligible to participate in all sports without any restrictions
- Medically eligible to participate in all sports without any restrictions but requires further evaluation or treatment
- Medically eligible for only a particular sport
- Not eligible and needs further evaluation
- Not eligible for any sports
Primary Care Physician Near Me in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, FL
If you want to take your child for a sports physical, the primary care physicians at Intercoastal Medical Group are the perfect choice. With our state-of-the-art equipment, our primary care physicians can thoroughly assess your child for all physical and medical problems. They will actively participate in treating or managing your child’s condition and help them get back to the field or court as soon as possible.