Robert Freed, D.O.
Orthopedics & Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
Speaking of HealthPump you up: Exercise with dumbbellsOctober 17, 2017
Youth sports have become year-round activities for student athletes. As you prepare for sports camps, training events and the regular season, remember to schedule a preparticipation sports physical.
Many states require sports physicals for student athletes entering grades seven or 10, or those who are starting to play sports for the first time. Typically, a sports physical should be performed at least four to six weeks before the sports camp, training or season begins. This gives parents and student athletes time to address any medical issues that may be identified during the physical. Here's what you need to know about these exams.
What is a sports physical?
A sports physical is an exam by a health care professional to ensure a student athlete is healthy enough to participate in sports. The exam gauges their ability to compete without compromising their well-being.
The appointment has two main parts: a medical history review and physical evaluation. The medical history review includes questions about family illnesses, past hospitalizations or surgeries, allergies and medications. During the physical exam, a health care professional checks your height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, vision, heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat. In addition, they assess your strength, flexibility, joints and posture. You and the health care professional also may discuss body changes, drug and alcohol use, dietary supplements and anything else you'd like to cover.
If an issue is uncovered during a sports physical, the examiner will refer the student athlete to a primary care provider or specialist, depending on the need.
Why do student athletes need a sports physical?
Sports physicals help keep student athletes safe. These exams identify any concerns or potential health limitations related to sports participation. Identifying health issues during a sports physical gives the student athlete the opportunity to have them evaluated further and addressed in a safe, timely manner.
Is a sports physical the same as a regular physical?
No. A sports physical focuses on evaluating a student athlete's health as it relates to the sport or sports they play. A regular physical with your primary care provider still is important and more comprehensive than a sports physical.
Sports physicals aren't intended to replace care or treatment from a primary care provider. Parents, guardians or athletes with health concerns first should consult with their primary care provider.
To be ready to perform at your best during the season ahead, make sure your body's also ready by scheduling your sports physical.
- Find an upcoming sports screening clinic near you by visiting our Classes & Events page, and searching for "sports."
- If you're referred to one of our specialists, learn about the Sports Medicine services and treatments we provide.
- Learn about primary care, and find a provider near you.