What is a sports physical?
In the United States, over 3.5 million sports injuries occur in children
1/3 of all childhood injuries are related to sports and athletics
A sports physical check-up is done by a doctor to evaluate your child’s safety in participating in sports
A doctor obtains your child’s medical history and performs a physical exam on your child to determine if it is unsafe for your child to participate in sports
Sports physicals help reduce your child’s risk of injury while participating in sports
What happens during a sports physical?
Your doctor will evaluate your child’s medical history including: current and past illnesses and injuries, current and past medications, and your child’s risk for illnesses that run in the family
Your doctor will perform a physical exam, or a medical check-up, on your child including: measuring blood pressure, heart rate, height and weight, evaluating vision and hearing, evaluating strength, coordination, reflexes, flexibility and posture, and listening to the heart and lungs
Your doctor may obtain extra labs and tests as needed
Where to get a sports physical?
- Your child’s pediatrician or family doctor
- Your child’s school or school nursing office
- Community urgent-care centers and clinics
Why do you need a sports physical?
A sports physical is often required prior to your child participating in organized sports and athletic activities
A sports physical helps reduce your child’s risk of injury and helps identify whether a sport or activity may harm your child’s health
A sports physical helps you and your doctor keep a health record for your child and track your child’s growth and development
A sports physical provides the opportunity for you and your child to ask a doctor any questions or concerns that you may have about starting a new sport or activity
How to prevent a sports injury?
Obtain a sports physical prior to beginning a new sport or athletic activity
Warm-up with stretching before starting exercise
Take at least 1 rest day per week to allow the body to rest and recover
Incorporate rest time during your physical activity
Wear the appropriate protective gear for the sport you are playing including pads, mouthpieces, helmets, protective cups, and protective eyewear
Use the proper technique for the sport your are playing and play safe
Drink fluids like water and sports drinks before, during, and after exercise
Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet
Do not play in unsafe conditions such as times of high heat and get help early if you recognize any injuries