Primary Care Sports Physician

School Sports Physicals

If your child plays basketball, soccer, or some other winter sport, it may be time for yet another sports physical. Why does my child need another physical? We just did that before school started! Even though he or she may have just had a physical prior to the start of the school year, this visit has a very different focus than the yearly well child exam.

The adolescent sports physical focuses on your child’s readiness to participate in athletics and seeks to identify any issues that need to be addressed to ensure wellbeing and safety during intense physical activity. Your pediatrician will obtain a detailed history from you regarding previous sports participation, medical issues, and injuries sustained, in addition to asking many screening questions. There are some medical conditions and situations that may prevent your child from sports participation, and it is important that we identify any that may exist at this visit.

Then, we perform a comprehensive physical exam, paying special attention to your child’s heart, lungs, and musculoskeletal system. Close attention will be paid to your child’s heart in order to detect signs of serious, though rare, conditions that may put athletes in danger. We will also check for any breathing problems (such as asthma) as well as evaluate the athlete’s joints, bones, and muscles for strength, flexibility, and previous injury.

Once we have all of the above information, we can then work with you to formulate a plan for your child’s safe sports participation. Sometimes further testing or medication will be needed at this point. We also may refer your child to physical therapy if we feel that this will help maintain your child’s ability to safely participate. With your child’s best interests at heart, we may delay clearing him or her for activity until certain things are completed. Counseling and further anticipatory guidance are also done at this point. Most times, all that remains is for us to sign the form and wish your athlete good luck on the upcoming sports season!