Playing sports helps keep you fit. They are also a fun way to socialize and meet people. But you might not know why the physical you may have to take at the beginning of your sports season is so important. A sports physical can help you find out about and deal with health problems that might interfere with your participation in a sport such as asthma and avoiding injuries.
To read more about the importance of playing sports visit the Let’s Go website.
What Is a Sports Physical
The sports physical is known as a pre-participation physical exam. The exam helps determine whether it’s safe for you to participate in a particular sport. Most states actually require that kids and teens have a sports physical before they can start a new sport or begin a new competitive season.
The two main parts to a sports physical are the medical history and the physical exam.
This part of the exam includes questions about:
- serious illnesses among other family members
- illnesses that you had when you were younger or may have now, such as asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy
- previous hospitalizations or surgeries
- allergies (to insect bites, for example)
- past injuries (including concussions, sprains, or bone fractures)
- whether you’ve ever passed out, felt dizzy, had chest pain, or had trouble breathing during exercise
- any medications that you are on (including over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and prescription medications)
The medical history questions are usually on a form that you can bring home, so ask your parents to help you fill in the answers.
Looking at patterns of illness in your family is a very good indicator of any potential conditions you may have.
During the physical part of the exam, your medical provider will:
- record your height and weight
- take a blood pressure and pulse (heart rate and rhythm) reading
- test your vision, check your heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
- evaluate your posture, joints, strength, and flexibility
Although most aspects of the exam will be the same for males and females, female athletes are at higher risk of some medical complications. For example, if a girl is heavily involved in a lot of active sports, the doctor may ask her about her period and diet to make sure she doesn’t have something like female athlete triad (poor nutrition, irregular or absent periods, and weak bones).
The provider will also ask questions about the use of drugs, dietary supplements, “performance enhancers” and weight-loss supplements because these can affect a person’s health.
Schedule an appointment
Parent consent must be in writing or by phone, if the child is seen without the parent present, prior to the appointment.
An appointment can be made by contacting the Sunshine Community Health Center.
If you have private insurance we will submit the total charge to your insurance. Your co-payment will be no more than $25.00 due at the time of service for the physical. Immunizations and other services received during the visit may have additional payment due.
At the end of your exam, the provider will either fill out and sign a form if everything checks out OK or, in some cases, recommend a follow-up exam, additional tests, or specific treatment for medical problems.