Why Does Your Child Need a Sports Physical?
Are sports physicals really necessary? Yes! Our expert explains why your child needs one each fall.
Autumn is almost here and that means it’s time for young athletes to begin practicing and conditioning for fall school sports. But before your child can begin practicing in a competitive setting, make sure your child undergoes a sports physical to make sure he or she is in tip-top shape.
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“A sports physical is extremely important,” says family medicine specialist Reid Perala, MD.
“It ensures the athletes are healthy and can participate,” Dr. Perala says. “During the physical, I look for any health issues, genetic conditions and medical problems that the parents and child may not be aware of that can potentially put the athlete at risk during sports.”
Here are Dr. Perala’s answers to some common questions parents have about sports physicals:
Any physician who practices family medicine, primary care, urgent care, pediatrics, orthopaedics or sports and exercise medicine can administer an athletic physical.
Yes, annual exams are just as important as sports physicals. They address other areas that sports physicals don’t — such as immunizations, safety issues, school performance and growth and development.
Two areas comprise a sports physical: a medical history and physical exam.
The medical history includes identifying:
The physical exam includes:
“It’s very rare that a child isn’t able to participate in athletics after his or her physical,” Dr. Perala says.
“If a health problem is found, I work to get the child back on track. If the child has shin splints, I send them to physical therapy, or if the athlete has exercised induced asthma, an inhaler may be prescribed. I want children to participate in sports and work to make sure they can.”
Physicals — for sports and as a regular exam — are necessary for your child’s well-being, Dr. Perala says.
“I like to see my patients when they are healthy in order to prevent injury and illness. It’s better to take care of health issues sooner than later,” he says.