Whether your kid is a high school soccer player, a performer in the school musical, or likes shooting hoops in the back yard, a sports physical is an important way to ensure your child is healthy, thriving, and able to participate in their activities safely.
Sports are a great way for your child to stay healthy, gain confidence, and make new friends. A sports physical gives them the best opportunity for full and safe sports participation. A sports physical focuses on two key areas: your child’s medical history and a physical examination. Its purpose is to help identify and deal with any health problems that may interfere with their sports performance or increase their chances of getting hurt.
The Purpose of a Sports Physical
A sports physical is important for a number of reasons. Its purpose is to help check if it’s safe for your child to participate in sports and aims to help:
- Reduce and avoid sports-related injuries and health complications
- Ensure medical records and health history remain up-to-date
- Provide an opportunity for the healthcare provider to identify any potential medical concerns, even if a child is not showing symptoms
A sports physical may also be a requirement of the registration process for some organized sports, camps, and school-sanctioned sports programs. Many states require that children and adolescents have a sports physical before they can participate in a new sport or begin a competitive season. However, even if a sports physical isn’t required, it is still recommend for children who are active.
What Does A Sports Physical Involve?
Prior to a sports physical, a Participation Physical Evaluation (PPE) form will need to be completed. This is an in-depth evaluation developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other medical and sports medicine groups to give children the best chance to fully and safely participate in sport. The PPE form includes an in-depth health history form about your child that should be filled out by both you and your child (if they are old enough) to be discussed during the physical exam.
During a sports physical, your child’s physician will evaluate their physical and mental health. This is to identify any potential health issues, which may require treatment or further investigation, such as a bone or joint problem. They will take time to review your child’s current health, as well as their personal and family medical history to ensure your child’s medical record is fully up-to-date, and to highlight any medical problems that may run in the family and may need to be investigated.
If your child is registering to participate in a particular sport, your physician can provide specific training tips, resources, and recommend exercises or physical therapy to help improve their athletic performance and reduce their risk of injuries or illness.
During a sports physical, the physician will perform a physical exam to evaluate important details about your child, such as their:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Joint health
- Strength and flexibility
- Hearing and vision
If your child has an existing health issue, such as diabetes or asthma, additional lab work or diagnostic testing may be requested by the physician.
The physical exam allows the physician to detect specific health-related issues and determine risk factors for illness or injury that could be triggered by strenuous physical activity.
When Should Your Child Have a Sports Physical?
The AAP recommends that a sports physical should be scheduled at least 6 weeks before the sports season starts. This allows sufficient time for any additional evaluation or new treatments, if the health provider identifies a problem.
A sports physical is typically good for 1 year, and a sports form is usually required each season. If there are any changes in your child’s health history, such as a new injury or symptoms (like chest pain or shortness of breath), you may need to see your health provider before being allowed to participate in sports. You should also inform your child’s gym teacher or coach if there have been any changes to their health.
Kids Sports Physicals in Purchase, NY
If you need to book a sports physical for your child, contact the caring and highly-skilled providers at BridgeSpan Medicine. Our dedicated team of adolescent medicine specialists provide a comprehensive range of effective pediatric services for teens and young adults ages 15-21, including sports physicals, sick visits, immunizations, and routine examinations.