As a parent, you want your child to live a full and active life, which may include playing sports. However, you might also be worried about your child’s health and the risks associated with some types of sports. Getting a sports physical for your child can help clear these doubts and give you a better understanding of their fitness level.
Sports Physicals: What It Means?
A physical for sports participation is a thorough examination of the student’s medical history, mental health history, and hearing to determine any potential risk factors that may prevent them from participating in school sports.
Sports physicals are often given at the beginning of the season or school year to identify certain conditions or illnesses that may make it unsafe for a student to participate. It is not uncommon for school boards to have a policy that requires all students’ sports physicals to be obtained by the start of the season.
As a parent of a child who is into playing sports, sports physicals should be included in your back-to-school checklist.
What is the difference between a school physical and a sports physical?
A sports physical is a test to see if a student can be in school sports. The doctor will talk with you and your child to assess health risks and ask questions about health history and the family’s medical history. The doctor might also look at your child’s ear to see if there is anything wrong with it that would keep them from being in school sports. You might have to do other tests too, fill out paperwork, or get a shot for diseases that could make it unsafe for your child to play in school sports.
School physicals, on the other hand, are a general health assessment of a student’s health. It includes evaluating the needs and risk factors that may impact their ability to participate in school activities.
UrgentCare Mds can help you save time by conducting your child’s sports physical exam quickly at our clinic in Baytown, or clinic in Crosby. We are open early and late, every day of the week, so you can bring your kids in for their exams without having to take off work.
At what age does a child need school and sports physicals?
The first time that your child will need a physical is when they enter the school system. After that, he or she should have at least one physical before every season of athletics or other sports-related activities.
What is the purpose of a sports physical?
Sports physicals aim to detect any medical conditions that would disqualify your child from participating in sports activities.
Some school sports require a certain level of fitness. Participating in sports that are beyond your child’s fitness level may put them at risk of suffering from sports injuries. Knowing one’s health and fitness status can prevent this from happening.
Medical history to know before getting a sports physical
One of the most important parts of a sports physical is the medical history. A personal medical history is done to know what happened in the past and what present illnesses your child might have.
Everyone has health problems that stem from their genetics, environment, lifestyle, or other factors. Knowing this information can go a long way in ensuring your child’s health and safety if they’re involved in any strenuous fitness activity.
- Personal medical history
This is your child’s general health information, including resolved and current health problems. It also includes:
- Vaccinations. Knowing which vaccinations your child needs to be up to date on. Some vaccinations need to be updated every so often.
- Allergies and illnesses. Knowing what medical conditions your child had in the past and how they were treated. Some medical conditions need some restrictions in physical activity.
- Medications. What medicines, prescriptions, or over the counter drugs have your child been taking?
- Surgeries. What surgical procedure did your child undergo in the past? Did they have any allergic reactions to any medications or antibiotics used in surgery?
- Blood Pressure
Did your child have problems with their blood pressure in the past? Is it normal, too high or low?
- Signs and Symptoms
Is anything growing on your child like a cyst, mole, sore, or pimple? Does anything hurt in your child’s groin region? Are there red spots or rashes anywhere on your child’s body? Is there pain in any part of the body?
- Family Medical History
What illnesses did your family members have, such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease?
- Alcohol and Drug Use
Does your child smoke cigarettes or marijuana? Were they ever addicted to drugs? And if so, which ones?
- Past Sports Injuries
Have your child had any injuries while doing sports activities previously that required medical attention or are still bothering them now? There are certain injuries that are red flags for future injury.
- Injury Treatment History
Knowing how your child was treated for past injuries is essential, too. Did the treatment work?
What do doctors check for at sports physicals in Baytown and Crosby, TX?
Aside from asking some questions about the medical history, your doctor might check the eyes, ears, nose, and throat by looking deep into your child’s mouth (using a tongue depressor) or through the nose with an instrument called an otoscope. Then, the doctor will listen to see if there is anything wrong with their heart or lungs.
After this, the bones and joints will be examined for any problems. Blood pressure, heart rate, height, and weight are also routinely assessed during athletic physical exams. These findings are used to get a sense of a student’s overall well-being and how it may affect their ability to participate in particular sports.
How often should a sports physical be done?
It depends on what kind of activity the student will be involved in, but it is usually suggested that athletes who play contact and collision sports should undergo annual evaluations.
For school athletes, for example, a concussion can result in significant trauma to the brain even if no signs or symptoms are present during or right after an injury occurs; therefore, it is essential for athletes to go through neurological exams before returning to play.
Do I need a doctor’s note for my child’s coach so they can participate in sports at school?
Yes and no. For some students, a doctor’s note is essential. The note should spell out all medical conditions that could affect the student’s ability to participate in sports and how they should be managed.
In some schools, if the student does not have a note or does not comply with any special recommendations made in the note, they cannot participate until they get a doctor’s approval.
In other situations, it isn’t necessary for students to submit notes, but many are required to obtain clearance from their physicians before they are allowed to play at school.
How long does a sports physical take?
Sports physicals usually take 20-30 minutes only, but it plays a big part in ensuring your child’s safety and overall health status concerning playing sports.
Each consultation may last longer, depending on your child’s health concerns. Though it can make the consultation a bit longer, you are encouraged to ask the doctor any question that might be bothering you about your child’s health.
What are some misconceptions about sports physicals?
Some people believe that a regular check-up with a doctor is enough to know if their children are healthy enough to play safely in sports. However, while it’s an important part of maintaining overall health and fitness, regular visits with your family doctor aren’t adequate for determining if your child is safe to play sports.
Some also think that school athletes should get their regular medical check-ups before the season begins so they can get a clearance. This is not always necessary unless they have a medical condition that may interfere with their ability to play safely in sports.
In this case, athletes should make sure their physician has all the information they need to make an informed decision prior to participating.
Who performs sports physicals?
A sports physical can be performed by a school nurse, teacher, or other school personnel trained in the area of physical exams. However, it’s always best to get a sports physical from a medical doctor with a trained clinical eye to avoid missing any sign that may indicate a health condition.
Where to get sports physicals in Baytown and Crosby, TX?
UrgentCare MDs offers sports physicals in our Baytown and Crosby, Texas, clinics. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or call us at:
Sports Physicals in Baytown: (281) 428-0000
Sports Physicals in Crosby: (832) 821-9780
Our offices are very easy to find and centrally located to serve the surrounding communities for regular appointments or urgent medical needs.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.