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Getting a Sports Physical at a Primary Care Medical Clinic
Most schools and sports organizations make it compulsory for student-athletes to undergo a sports physical before the season commences. The examinations ensure that students can participate in sporting activities safely and without any health risk. A primary care provider can complete the process at a medical clinic. Continue reading to learn more about the examination.
Overview of a sports physical
During a sports physical, a trained health provider will examine the student with the general aim of understanding how fit the child is to handle the strain of any physical activity. They will check for hidden health issues or weaknesses. The exam is also done to detect undiagnosed issues before they would become a problem on the field or court. Things THAT the provider will check include:
- Past medical history to know about past illnesses, surgeries and injuries or concussions
- Heart health
- Respiratory health
- Social history (for teenagers)
Sports physicals also give parents and children the chance to discuss sports safety and injury prevention with a professional. They will review the symptoms of concussion, indications of dehydration and other essential factors. The sports physical appointment is also the time to discuss any health concerns or questions, even if they are not related to sports.
What the sports physical will check for
The provider will check basic height, weight and arm circumference to find any abnormalities or concerns. A heart health check is crucial and can determine if the child can handle physical exercise without exposing them to the risk of cardiovascular problems.
A lung condition, like shortness of breath, also needs to be addressed. Problems with the heart and lungs can prevent children from safely participating in sports. These issues can sometimes go undetected except by experienced and trained professionals who are checking for them.
Whatever is covered when the child is young remains relevant as the child grows. When the child is older, the provider will address more detailed questions about social history, such as drug use. This is an excellent time to begin the discussion and help children understand the risks of their choices. At every sports and activity physical, the provider will address healthy living, such as eating habits and exercises.
The need for the sports physical
Each state has a requirement for the timing and frequency of a physical. It is recommended that the process be completed six weeks before the beginning of either the school or activity season.
The six-week period provides time for any extra checkups required that may result from the physical appointment. This may include therapy for an injury that has not healed fully and may restrict the child from participating in optimal health and may increase the risk of injury.
The sports physical can be completed at a primary care medical clinic. Well-child appointments or annual checkups could also be a physical and covers the full scope of pediatric preventive care and a complete overview of the child’s health.
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