Playing community sports is a great way for teenagers to stay in shape and create lasting friendships. But with any sports athletes run a risk of injury. To avoid illness and injury on the field all young athletes need to receive a physical before joining any type of sports team. In fact, many states require a sports physical before starting a new sport.
Usually during a sports physical your medical care professional starts by reviewing your teen’s medical history. Your health care professional will likely ask about any previous illnesses or injuries that might prevent your young athlete from participating. He/she may also ask your child to fill out a health care form or questionnaire investigating daily habits and lifestyle choices. Some of these questions could investigate drug and alcohol use.
A physical exam follows the medical history review. Your 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 strength
- Test your child’s vision and hearing
- Check the ears, nose, and throat
- Look at joint flexibility, mobility, spinal alignment, and posture
- Screen cholesterol, obtain a hemoglobin count, and perform a urinalysis
- Genital exam (to screen for hernias in males)
- Immunizations if needed
Girls may also be asked about their period, and whether it’s regular. Additional testing such as blood tests, X-rays, or electrocardiogram may be ordered during the sports physical.
At the end of the sports physical exam, your health care profession will determine if your teen can safely participate in sporting events. The type of sport, how strenuous the sport is, position played, level of competition, size of the athlete, and the type of protective equipment available may also be put into consideration.
If possible, schedule your teen’s sports physical 6 weeks or more before the beginning of the sports season to allow enough time to follow up on something if necessary. Nobody will be happy if on the day of your sports physical your provider finds something that needs to be taken care of before your young athlete can suit up.
Remember if your teen receives a sport physical every season, it’s not the same as a comprehensive health exam. A sports physical focuses on your child’s well being as it relates to playing sports, and it’s scope is limited. Make sure your teen still receives an annual checkup as well.
Keep your family’s health in check with school, work and sports physicals, annual wellness exams, annual gynecologic visits and flu shots. Give us a call at (662) 348-3342 to schedule an appointment.