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It’s Time for Back to School Sports Physicals

Dr. Sean Driscoll
August 15, 2017

It’s that time of the year. New backpacks, new books, new classes. A new school year is finally here, and with it, children (and parents) are looking forward to school sports activities. To start the new sports season you and your kids need to be as prepared as you can so when it is time to choose which activities they can participate in, they will be ready to start.

The first item on your back to school list should be to get your kids sports physicals, which are often required by the schools to enroll in certain activities.

Who Needs a Sports Physical?

Sports physicals are required for participation in sports school programs. And even if they are not required, they are highly recommended. No matter which sport your children want to participate it – whether it is soccer, track, baseball, martial arts, or football – a sports physical can help check your kid's fitness and health.

Difference between Annual Physicals and Sports Physicals

Some parents believe the sports physical is the same as their children’s annual physical. However, they do vary. An annual physical is basically any visit to the doctor. It is a consultation of your child’s current health.

On the other hand, a sports physical focuses on determining whether your child is safe to participate in any physical activity or sport. Also, sports physicals determine if any health condition your kids have may or may not interfere with their participation in these activities.

What to Expect During a Sports Physical?

A sports physical will begin with a thorough medical history examination. Expect to answer questions about the history of illness, previous injuries, and hospitalizations. In most cases, lifestyle habits such as drug and alcohol use, physical activity, and diet are also factored in.

Then, a physical exam will be conducted to measure weight and height, blood pressure, neurological functions, and joint flexibility. During this review, doctors can also test your child’s hearing and vision, check their ears, throat, and nose, and even perform a genital exam to rule out hernias in males.

Why Is a Sports Physical so Important?

A sports physical can help parents find out if their children’s health and fitness is good enough to participate in certain sports activities. Also, sports physicals can provide a solution for common issues, like asthma, to help your children perform better when engaging in physical activities.

The sooner your kids get a complete sports physical, the better. Being pre-approved to perform sports activities will help them when the season starts. Also, remember that a sports physical it is not a complete physical exam, which is why your children still need to receive a complete comprehensive health exam each year as well. A sports physical is crucial to avoid future injuries and to make sure your kids are able to perform at their best.

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