In the last couple of posts, we’ve had a fun series on current breakthroughs in medicine. We’re going to take a brief break and touch on the subject of sports physicals. If your child participates in sports, come fall, they’ll need to have a sports physical. We’re almost at the summer solstice, which means we’re on the other end of the summer season and the school year is encroaching. There is a long laundry list in getting your family ready for the school year, so don’t postpone the sports physical, and schedule it today.
At Huneycutt Family Medicine, we offer a variety of services, including sports physicals. We are Loveland’s premier family practice, and our care is always patient-focused. If you’re a parent wondering why your child still needs a sports physical, let’s examine it together.
What is a Sports Physical?
A sports physical, or a preparticipation physical examination (PPE), is a physical performed by health professionals to determine if your child is healthy enough to participate in sports. These exams are implemented in most states and are required for student athletes; however, getting a sports physical is beneficial for non-athletes as another tool to gather information about their health and wellness. The exam is able to identify if your child has any medical issues, such as diabetes, asthma, or epilepsy, that may cause safety concerns while playing sports, and is also able to address any medication needs. The sports physical is a two-part process — the medical history and the physical examination.
Medical history – This information is extremely valuable and is imperative to have for the safety of the athlete. It’s important to have a parent or guardian available during the medical history portion in case the child doesn’t know. Questions that we’ll address include:
- Have there been any past surgeries?
- Does your child have any allergies?
- Are there any medical issues we should know of?
- Are there any past sports-related injuries?
- Has your child ever had any trouble breathing, felt dizzy, or experienced chest pain?
We will also ask about medications and herbal supplements your child is taking.
Physical examination – During the physical exam, the athlete’s vitals, such as blood pressure and pulse, are taken, in addition to checking the health of the lungs, heart, abdomen, joints, strength, and flexibility. Some physical exams also include checking the ears, nose, and throat and other aspects, such as vision and posture. Based on the age of the athlete and if they’ve gone through puberty, the doctor may ask specific questions about a female’s period, address diet, and identify if there are any warning signs of the Female Athlete Triad disorder (poor nutrition, missed and absent periods, and weight and bone loss). Questions about steroids and performance enhancers may also be asked because these can greatly affect a person’s health and well-being.
After the athlete has been cleared and doesn’t require any further testing, they can be cleared for their sport.
Does my child still need a regular physical if they’ve had a sports physical?
Your child will still need a regular physical even if they’ve had a sports physical. A regular physical addresses a broader spectrum of health and wellness than just specific athletic concerns. This exam will also look at socioemotional aspects and help to identify any warning or red flag concerns in your child (eating disorders, mood disturbances, etc). At the time of a sports physical, you can schedule these appointments back-to-back, just be sure to allow more time.
My child gets a sports physical every year. Isn’t one enough?
It’s important that every year your child participates in sports, they get a sports physical — every year! Because kids are still growing and maturing, making sure they’re physically fit is important before they get on the field. Injuries also occur from season to season, so having an eye on them and making sure they’re healed is also important.
The reason we still have sports physicals every year is for the safety and health of your child. Sure, it can be cumbersome and impede on your end-of-summer activities, but it is valuable in the information it can provide. It can catch medical issues and identify whether or not a past injury has healed properly.
A sports physical addresses both the child’s medical history and a physical examination to clear them for the upcoming sports season.
To book your sports physical for the fall season, connect with our office today!