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When your teenage son or daughter decides to go out for a sports team for the first time, you may be surprised to hear that they need to undergo a sports physical exam before they are considered eligible to play. You may wonder why your perfectly healthy child needs to undergo a physical exam with a medical professional just to play high school sports. To understand the necessity of the reasoning behind the physical exam requirement, you need to learn and understand what you can expect from your child's sports physical exam. Then, you will better understand the reasoning behind this seemingly arbitrary requirement.
When Will Your Child Need A Sports Physical Exam?
The first question you may be asking yourself is when you need to schedule your child's physical appointment. Essentially, any time in the two months prior to the start of the sports season will work for your sports physical exam.
However, in ideal circumstances, you should try to get your child in for their physical around six to eight weeks prior to tryouts. This gives your child time to turn in the paperwork to the athletic office, and to ensure that it is processed in time for the start of the season.
What Is A Sports Physical Exam?
A sports physical exam is used to determine whether or not your child is physically capable of participating in sports without putting their health at risk. The exam will then consist of an examination of your child's medical history.
Next, your child will be asked to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire about their health and lifestyle. This will be used to determine any potential risk factors your child may have regarding sports participation. For example, if your daughter indicates that she is sexually active, the sports physical exam may include a pregnancy test and/or screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
The bulk of the sports physical is the exam itself. This involves standard tests of reflexes, neurological health, heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, cholesterol, lung capacity and the like. This will involve a manual examination with the doctor, a series of blood tests, and potentially a genital exam should your child's questionnaire answers require it.
All of these tests will be used to gauge your child's overall health. The tests will help determine if your child suffers from any cardiovascular disorders, asthma, diabetes, or the like. While the discovery of these ailments may not necessarily preclude your child from participation, the school needs to be aware of these potential risk factors so that they can protect your child from undue strain and risk.
Who Can Perform The Sports Physical Exam?
Generally, your child's primary care physician will conduct a sports physical exam. However, a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant can also perform the exam should you so choose.
In other words, a licensed medical professional must perform the exam and fill out and sign the appropriate paperwork attesting to your child's physical health and condition.
Now that you better understand what a sports physical exam entails, you can understand why your child's school requires it. The school is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of all of the students including their athletes. In order for a school to ensure that their student athletes will not be at risk while participating in sports, they need the results of a standard sports physical exam.
For more information, contact Physicians Immediate Care Centers PS or a similar organization.