Over the last few years, it seems like we are always seeing professional athletes return quickly from absolutely devastating injuries. One of the best examples of this is Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, who came back from a torn ACL and MCL in 2012 and won MVP honors.
As inspiring as these quick recovery stories are, it is important to note that Peterson was cleared to play by team doctors prior to returning to the field. It’s not as if he returned to the field on a gut feeling that he was fine. This is important to note because it highlights the importance of sports physicals.
Sports physicals are more than just a mere formality; they are designed to prevent further injury. Even a “small sprain” can weaken structures enough to raise your risk of re-injuring yourself if you do not give your body enough time to recover. A sports physical checks the condition of the injured area to determine whether or not it can withstand the movements your preferred sport demands.
Sports physicals are relatively quick and simple processes, especially if you go to a respected urgent care center such as U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group. If this is the first time you will be having a sports physical, here are a few steps to make the experience easier for you:
Wear Loose Clothing
Your doctor will likely test your reflexes and the injured area’s range of motion. To help the appointment run smoothly, it may be a good idea to skip wearing skinny jeans to your physical. Loose fitting clothing will make it easier for your doctor to access the injured area, as well as make it easier for you to perform any movements that the physical exam will require you to accomplish.
Brush Up on Your Medical History
You will likely be asked to fill out a health history form while you wait for your appointment. Try to list anything and everything you know about your personal medical history, even if you believe that it has nothing to do with your sports injury. This will provide your doctor with better insight on your overall health and your risk of re-injury. Some conditions you may want to declare include:
- Vison problems
- Past injuries (fractures, tears, dislocations, etc.)
- Any medication you are currently using
Whether you are cleared to return or not, your doctor will probably provide you with a few new warm-up and exercise routines to follow. Adhere to these routines the best you can as they are meant to strengthen the previously injured area and surrounding structures. As a result, your body will be able to better handle the rigors of your sport and minimize the risk of injury.
Physical Exams and Teen Sports, WebMD.com
Sports Physicals, emedicine.medscape.com