Did you know that around 38 million American children and teenagers play at least one sport? That’s a promising statistic considering how obesity and other lifestyle diseases are starting to creep up on both the young and the old. Although playing sports is a good way to stay fit and healthy, doing so still comes with the risk of getting hurt or injured. This is why a sports physical in urgent care centers such as U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group is a valuable preparatory step before completely participating in a sports event or competition.
Sports Physical 101
Also referred to as a preparticipation physical examination (PPE), a sports physical basically helps in determining whether an individual has existing physical problems or medical conditions that can put them at risk while taking part in a sports activity. Other than ensuring an individual’s safety by focusing on finding risks for injury, sports physicals likewise identify potential issues that can be corrected or treated, assess the overall fitness of the participant, maintain the health of the individual, ensure that legal and insurance requirements are met, and a checkup appointment becomes an opportunity for the physician to educate the participant on common injuries related to their chosen sport and how to avoid them.
Components of a Sports Physical
The two main parts of sports physicals are the medical history assessment and the physical exam. For the former, pertinent questions will be asked to determine if you have current medical conditions, serious illnesses that run in the family, past injuries that can affect your performance, allergies, physical limitations, and if you’re taking any medications or supplements. It’s important to be honest and accurate in answering the medical history questions. In fact, youngsters can even take the questionnaire home to ask their parents about family and past medical history.
For the actual physical exam, doctors focus mainly on orthopedic and cardiac health. During the physical checkup, the doctor will record your height and weight, take your vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature), check your vital organs (heart, lungs, ears, throat, and abdomen), test your vision, and evaluate the strength of your extremities as well as their flexibility. Depending on your gender, the doctor will ask a set of questions relating to your physical status, lifestyle, and other daily activities.
Sports physicals can be done in urgent care centers, school clinics, and the office of your healthcare provider. It’s ideally done six to eight weeks before the start of sports season to allow for ample intervention or treatment in case a health issue is identified.
Physical Exams and Teen Sports, WebMD
Sports Physicals, KidsHealth.org