Springtime is tryout season in North Mississippi and that means it’s also time for your young athlete to undergo a sports physical. One of the most common questions we’re asked is “what’s the difference between a sport physical and an annual health exam? Here are a few things you should know about sports physicals, including why your child still needs an annual health exam in addition to a physical.
The purpose of a sports physical is to prove your child can safely play a sport. Congenital abnormalities like heart defects are among top concerns for school officials when it comes to young athletes.
Sports physicals track current physical health. During the exam, your child’s height and weight will be recorded along with tests to check their heart rate and rhythm, as well as their vision. Other areas that are examined during a routine physical include the lungs, ears, nose, and throat. Your child’s posture, strength, and flexibility will also be tested.
Like with health exams, your child’s provider will need to know their medical history. This includes serious family illnesses, former illnesses and injuries, previous hospitalizations and any allergies, medications or other concerns affecting your child.
Sports physicals do not include immunizations or behavioral and developmental screening. These screenings, along with other services like reviewing your child’s nutrition and sleep habits or performing lab work, are reserved for annual health exams.
You can schedule a sports physical and an annual health exam during the same appointment. Annual health exams also include checks for everything providers look for during a physical and its not unusual for parents to kill two birds with one stone by scheduling both exams on the same day. However, if an issue is found your child may need to return for additional exams or be referred to a specialist for further testing.