By Daniel Smoots, MD | Family Medicine
The beginning of the school year means new opportunities. Is your child is starting a sport for the first time, changing sports, or deciding to try a new physical activity outside of class? Then it is time for them to have a sports physical so a medical professional can make sure they can play their new sport or activity safely.
What is a sports physical?
- Screening for safe and healthy participation in sports and activities.
- Checking that your child’s body is ready for the physical demands of the activity.
Does my child need a sports physical?
- Yes. In Arizona it is state law that a student gets a sports physical if they are playing a team or club sport at school.
- And where it isn’t required, it is highly recommended because almost all kids are active in some way! This physical looks at the physical and mental demands of their sport or activity and can address any concerns related to their health.
- To make life easier and to have less appointments, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends scheduling a sports physical with your child’s next routine well-child visit.
What happens during the appointment?
- Bring your child’s completed Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation form with you. Write down any important medical information like past surgeries, injuries, or illnesses, and any family history of heart disease should be reviewed. Write down any questions you may have to discuss with the doctor.
- At the appointment, the doctor will check your child’s:
- Vitals: height, weight, pulse, and blood pressure
- Eyes: if your child may need corrective lenses, or a new prescription
- Medical history
- Fitness: check heart, lungs, abdomen, joints, flexibility, strength, and reflexes
- This is also a good time to talk with your child’s doctor about any concerns for your child’s new or ongoing activity or sport, such as:
- Special needs or disabilities
- We want your child to be safe in their activities, so sometimes they may need to have lab work done or another exam with a specialist. If needed, their doctor will help set up the next steps for this, and most children are able to play after this extra clearance.
Safe and healthy participation in sports and physical activities is the goal, so get your child’s physical scheduled with your NOAH provider and enjoy watching them play.