To get ready for the upcoming sports seasons, there is a lot to do: prepping equipment, getting the snack schedule down pat, and getting into the routine of practices, just to name a few. However, the most important thing you can do to make sure your athlete is prepared for the new season, getting a sports physical completed by your Pediatrician.

A sports physical or a preparticipation physical examination (PPE), helps determine if it is safe for your child to participate in their favorite sport. Most schools and teams require it, but if it isn’t required, it is highly recommended that your child receives one. There are two main parts of a sports physical, gathering the medical history, and the physical exam.

The medical history is where your Pediatrician will ask questions about:

  • Serious illnesses in the family tree
  • Illness the child might have had (if not already on record)
  • Previous surgeries or hospital trips
  • Allergies
  • Possible past sports-related injuries such as sprains, concussions, or bone fractures
  • If the child has ever had dizzy spells, lost consciousness, had chest pain, or trouble breathing during or immediately after exercise.
  • Any medications that your child might be on, including over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, vitamins, and prescription medications.

These questions are important to build a history for your child that helps your Pediatrician get the whole picture of your child’s health. Try to take your time answering these questions, and don’t give answers that you, or your child, think your Doctor wants to hear.

The physical exam is where your Pediatrician will:

  • Record your child’s height and weight
  • Take their blood pressure and pulse
  • Test their vision
  • Check the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
  • Evaluate their posture, joints, strength, and flexibility

The questions and exam for the physical exam will differ depending on age, status in the stages of puberty, and gender.

Sports physicals are the most important part of pre-season preparation. They help your athletes, and your Pediatrician find and help handle any health problems that might interfere with your child playing a sport. Your Pediatrician will also be able to help give advice on how to avoid injuries, identify risk factors, and keep a good record of your child’s baselines.

If you have any questions about sports physicals, or even just regular wellness check-ups feel free to contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing your children enjoying their favorite sports this year!