Considering getting a pre-participation sports physical? Here’s everything that usually gets checked during a sports physical.
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Sports physicals are an important part of keeping athletes healthy and safe. The physical exam can help identify risk factors for injury or illness, and it’s a good time for parents and guardians to ask questions about their child’s health and well-being.
Here’s what you can expect during a sports physical:
1. A review of your child’s medical history, including any chronic health conditions, previous injuries, medications, allergies and immunizations.
2. A check of your child’s height, weight and body mass index (BMI).
3. A check of your child’s blood pressure and pulse.
4. A check of your child’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope.
5. A review of your child’s musculoskeletal system, including a check for flexibility, alignment and strength. The doctor or other healthcare provider may also check for conditions such as scoliosis (a curving of the spine).
6. A brief neurological exam to test things such as strength, reflexes and coordination.
7. If necessary, referral for additional tests or specialist consultations.
What is a sports physical?
A sports physical is a type of physical examination that is conducted to determine whether or not an athlete is healthy enough to participate in a particular sport. The examination includes a review of the athlete’s medical history and a physical examination. Depending on the results of the physical examination, the athlete may be cleared to participate in the sport, or may be advised to consult with a physician before participating.
What do sports physicals check for?
A sports physical is a medical exam given to young athletes before they begin playing a sport. The purpose of the sports physical is to make sure that the child is healthy and fit enough to play the sport, and to identify any medical conditions that could be made worse by participation.
The sports physical will generally include a medical history questionnaire, a physical examination, and some basic tests of fitness and coordination. The medical history questionnaire will ask about the child’s past medical conditions, any medications they are currently taking, and any allergies they have. The physical examination will check the child’s height, weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. The examiner will also look for any signs of illness or injury.
The basic fitness and coordination tests will vary depending on the sport, but may include things like running or jumping tests. These tests are not meant to be pass/fail; instead, they give the examiner an idea of the child’s level of fitness and what areas may need improvement.
Based on the information gathered during the sports physical, the examiner will then decide whether or not the child is healthy enough to play the sport. If there are any concerns, the examiner may recommend further testing or evaluation by a specialist. In most cases, however, children who receive a sports physical will be cleared to play without any problems.
3.1. Height and weight
Most people are aware that doctors take height and weight measurements during physicals, but they may not know why this is important. Body mass index (BMI) is a calculation that uses height and weight to estimate the amount of body fat. BMI is not a perfect measure, but it’s a helpful tool for doctors to get an idea of whether a person is at a healthy weight.
There are different BMI categories for adults, children, and teens. For adults, a BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight, 18.5-24.9 is considered normal or healthy weight, 25-29.9 is considered overweight, and 30 or above is considered obese.
3.2. Blood pressure
A blood pressure check is important because it can help to identify whether a child has hypertension (high blood pressure). This is a condition that can be managed with medication, but it is important to catch it early.
3.3. Cardiovascular system
Cardiovascular system: The doctor will check your heart rate and rhythm and blood pressure. He or she will listen to your heart and lungs. You will need to have a general idea of your family’s medical history of heart and vascular disease.
3.4. Joints and muscles
During a physical examination, the healthcare provider will check the joints and muscles for any signs of inflammation, tenderness, or weakness. The provider will also look for any deformities in the joints or muscles.
The doctor or nurse will check your skin for:
-Moles or other birthmarks
-Any changes in the way your skin looks or feels
vision tests to ensure that they can see well enough to play their sport safely. If a child wears glasses or contact lenses, the doctor will make sure the prescription is up to date.
3.7. Mouth and teeth
Mouth and teeth – The doctor will look inside your mouth for signs of gum disease, tooth decay, or mouth sores. If you wear braces, the doctor will check to make sure they are in good condition.
The doctor will check the eardrums for redness or bulging, which can happen with an ear infection. They’ll also look for any buildup of wax in the ear canal.
The doctor or nurse will use a stethoscope to check for any abnormal sounds in your lungs, such as wheezing.
When should you get a sports physical?
It’s important to get a sports physical at least once a year, even if you’re not planning on playing a sport. The physical can help detect any medical conditions that might limit your participation in sports, or that might put you at risk for injuries.
Most schools require student athletes to have a sports physical before they can participate in sports. Check with your school to see when their sports physicals are scheduled. You may also be able to get a sports physical at your regular doctor’s appointment.
During the physical, the doctor will ask about your medical history and any previous injuries you’ve had. They will also check your heart rate, blood pressure, and weight. The doctor will also test your vision and hearing, and check your flexibility and range of motion.
How often should you get a sports physical?
You should get a sports physical at least once a year. This is because your body can go through a lot of changes in a year, and you want to make sure that you are still healthy enough to participate in sports.
What if you have a chronic condition?
If you have a chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy, you will need to get a medical clearance from your doctor before you can participate in any kind of sports activity. This is to make sure that your condition is under control and that you are not at risk for any complications while participating in physical activity.
Ultimately, the decision to participate in a sports physical is a personal one. However, it is important to remember that these exams can provide valuable information about your health and fitness level. If you have any concerns about your ability to participate in a particular sport, be sure to talk to your doctor.