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Sports Physicals

A sports physical (also known as a pre-participation physical examination) is a check-up to assess a child's health and fitness as it relates to a sport. It is not intended to replace a regular physical.


How it is done:

During the sports physical, the health care provider looks for any diseases or injuries that could make it unsafe to participate in sports and reviews the family's medical history to ensure additional tests are performed if necessary.
 

Your child's sports physical should start with a thorough medical history. The health care provider will ask about any history of illness, hospitalizations, or injuries that might prevent them from playing, or that might limit the type or amount of activity the athlete can handle. He or she will be asked to fill out a health history form as well as a questionnaire that investigates daily habits and lifestyle choices (it asks about drug and alcohol use, among other topics).

 

These include:

  • Asthma

  • Shortness of breath or chest pain during exercise

  • Dizziness or fainting spells

  • High blood pressure

  • Excess fatigue

  • Diabetes

  • Frequent headaches

  • Eating disorders

  • Vision problems (wearing glasses or contact lenses)

  • Epilepsy

  • Past surgeries or injuries (broken bones, fractures, dislocations, or concussions)

  • Heart problems such as a murmur or abnormal heart rhythm

  • Bone, joint, or spine injuries

  • Skin problems

  • Severe allergies such as to food, pollen, or stinging insects

  • Liver or kidney problems

  • Use of certain medications including prescription, over-the-counter, illicit, and herbal medicines

  • A family history of heart problems or sudden death before age 50


The medical history will be followed by a physical exam, in which the health care provider will:

  • Measure height and weight

  • Take pulse rate and blood pressure

  • Check the heart and lungs

  • Check neurological function such as reflexes, coordination, and general strength

  • Test your child’s vision and hearing

  • Check the ears, nose, and throat

  • Look at joint flexibility, mobility, spinal alignment, and posture to evaluate for scoliosis

  • Hernia exam (in males) if warranted

  • Reviews immunizations

 
Girls may also be asked about their period, and whether it's regular. Additional testing such as blood tests, X-rays, an electrocardiogram or a cardiac echo may be ordered due to findings of the sports physical.


Physicians that provide this procedure: