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Sports Physicals

Playing sports helps children stay fit. They are also a fun way to socialize and meet other kids.

The sports physical is a pre-participation physical exam. The exam helps determine whether it’s safe for your child to participate in a particular sport. Most schools require children to have a sports physical before they start a new sport or begin a new competitive season. A sports physical can help you find out about and deal with any health issues that might interfere with their participation such as asthma or how to avoid injuries.

What to Expect During a Sports Physical

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

Medical History:

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’re child has 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)

Looking at patterns of illness in your family is a very good indicator of any potential conditions you may have.

Physical Examination:

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.


At the end of your exam, the provider will either fill out and sign a form if everything checks out or, in some cases, recommend a follow-up exam, additional tests, or specific treatment for medical problems.




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