Playing sports helps keep you fit and active, they are also a great way to meet new people and keep up on your socialization skills.  One thing that many people don’t know is why it is so important to get a sport physical prior to the beginning of your sports season.

What Is a Sports Physical?

A Pre-participation Physical Examination (PPE) as it is known in the sports medicine field, is an exam for athletes to determine if it is safe for you to participate in a certain sport.  Local school districts, including Fauquier, Prince William, and Culpeper require that kids and teens have a sport physical before they can start a new sport or begin a new competitive season.

Why Is a Sports Physical Important?

A sports physical will help you identify and deal with potential health problems that could interfere with your participation in a sport. The physical will ensure that it is safe for you to physically participate in the specific sport you want to play.  It helps to identify conditions that require a treatment plan before or during exercise such as uncontrolled blood pressure, eating disorders, or certain lung conditions. This time also allows your doctor to speak to you about important issues such as healthy eating habits, avoidance of drugs or alcohol, and the importance of stretching and strengthening activities that can help to prevent injuries.  Listening to your doctor’s advice can make you a healthier, stronger athlete.

The two main parts to a sports physical are the medical history and the physical exam.

Medical History:

The medical history questions are usually on a form that you can bring home; This includes family history on both sides, serious illnesses, hospitalizations an surgeries, previous injuries, and medications you are on. Answer the questions as well as you can. Try not to guess the answers or give answers you think your doctor wants; It is important to be open and honest on the form.

Physical Exam:

This part is with the doctor and they will review your height and weight, take your blood pressure and pulse rates, check your heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat, and evaluate things like your posture, joints, strength, and flexibility. Getting a sport physical once a year is usually adequate. If you’re healing from a major injury, like a broken wrist or ankle, however, get checked out after it’s healed before you start playing again.  Typically, you should have your physical about 6 weeks before your sports season begins so there’s enough time to follow up on something, if necessary.

Do I Still Have to Get a Regular Physical?

No, in Virginia we recommend that you get your physical after May, 1.  Once you get your wellness check after this date you are set for the next school year for the entire year for your wellness physical and your sports physical. Once you get your needed paperwork from the school, give us a call, you can drop the paperwork off and we can sign off on it, as long as you have had your wellness check there is no need to get an additional sports physical.