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What to Expect During a Sports Physical

May 08, 2023

What to Expect During a Sports Physical
Sports physicals play a key role in keeping your child free from injuries and life-threatening illnesses that haven’t been found yet, such as heart problems. Learn what to expect during your child’s sports physical and why it’s important to schedule it now

Every year, millions of kids sign up for sports sponsored by schools, community groups, and other organizations, and most of those kids need to have a sports physical before they can play. For busy parents, sports physicals might seem like a nuisance. But they serve a very important role in helping your child avoid injuries and finding undiagnosed life-threatening cardiac illnesses. 

At Catalyst Medical Group, our providers offer sports physicals as part of our pediatric wellness exams for our patients in Lewiston, Idaho, tailoring the physical and its evaluations to your child’s specific needs. If your child hasn’t had a sports physical in the past, this post will help you understand what to expect.

Your child’s sports physical

Sports physicals are not a replacement for your child’s “regular” pediatric wellness exams. Sports physicals are very basic evaluations that focus on the skills your child needs to take part in a particular activity. 

Different sports place different demands on your child. During the exam, we evaluate your child with an eye toward those specific demands, so we can make any necessary recommendations to keep your child safe.

A Sports Physical with a Wellness Exam includes: 

Medical history

At the very start of the exam, we take a complete medical history, including your child’s health history and family health history. This part of the exam helps identify potential issues or risk factors that might need to be addressed or monitored throughout the sports season.

Our team asks about your child’s past injuries and past hospitalizations, along with any chronic or acute medical issues they may have, like asthma or allergies. We’ll also ask about medications your child takes and any symptoms they have, like dizziness, vision problems, or headaches.

Physical exam

In this part of the exam, we’ll:

  • Measure your child’s height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Listen to their heart and lungs
  • Palpate their belly
  • Evaluate their nose and throat
  • Perform a brief vision exam
  • Check their reflexes

From a sports perspective, we’ll check your child’s joint health, strength, and flexibility for any potential issues before participation. We also check for conditions that might require special accommodations.

Most sports organizations have forms that need to be filled out during the exam, so be sure to bring them with you. This is also a great time to learn about healthy behaviors that can help your child enjoy their sport and get the most from it. That includes learning about:

  • Healthy eating habits
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Tips to prevent injuries
  • How to balance schoolwork and sports

If your child has a chronic medical issue like asthma, we’ll make sure you and your child know what to do to manage that condition during practice and play. At the end of the exam, if we believe your child could benefit from additional testing, we’ll recommend lab tests, imaging, or other evaluations. 

If your child is playing sports this summer or in the fall, now is the time to schedule a physical. Having a physical now ensures there’s plenty of time in case your child needs additional testing or other actions before being cleared for play.

To schedule your child’s sports physical, call our practice to book an appointment with our team at Catalyst Medical Group today.