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Why Is a School Physical for Sports Exam Important?

Whether your child is a focused athlete or one who plays simply for the fun of it, there are many benefits to undertaking an annual sports physical exam. Plus, before anyone can start playing a sport, it’s essential for them to have a physical exam from their healthcare provider – this is called the school
physical for sports exam. 

During this examination, athletes receive a comprehensive health assessment from healthcare professionals who can identify potential risks that could affect participation in competitive sports activities. 

Going to an urgent care center for a walk-in physical exam is a convenient and affordable way to get your sports health assessment without having to wait for an appointment. Not only do urgent care centers provide on-the-spot medical attention, but they are also more flexible with their hours than traditional primary care physicians’ offices. 

What Is a Physical for Sports Exam, and What Does It Include?


A sports physical exam, otherwise known as a pre-participation physical examination (PPE), is a medical evaluation of the health and fitness of an individual before they engage in any sort of athletic activity. It is typically conducted by a healthcare provider and includes an overall assessment of the patient’s general health, emphasizing musculoskeletal system development and function. Another big emphasis is placed on heart disease and concussion, where providers are there to assess for risk factors for sudden cardiac death. 

The healthcare provider will ask questions about family history and prior injuries, check vital signs such as heart rate, take measurements such as height/weight and flexibility range-of-motion tests to evaluate body mechanics, perform a physical exam for any visible deformities or abnormalities, inquire about any medications being taken that could affect performance, and determine if any additional medical testing is needed. 

The physical exam aims to reduce the risk of injury and detect any underlying medical conditions. It also allows providers to educate athletes on proper nutrition, hydration, and safe exercise habits. 

At a minimum, sports physicals should include the following: 

  • Review of personal and family health history 
  • Measurement of height/weight/body mass index (BMI) 
  • Evaluation of posture/flexibility/joint range of motion
  • Assessment of strength/endurance levels 
  • Visual inspection for deformities or abnormalities such as flat feet or scoliosis  
  • Listening to the heart and lungs via a stethoscope for signs of abnormality 
  • Testing of vision/hearing 
  • Discussion of nutrition and hydration needs 
  • Review of safety protocols 
  • Questions about any medications taken  

Why Do Schools Require a Sports Physical for Athletes?


Schools require sports school physical exams for students to ensure that they are healthy enough to participate in physical activities such as running, jumping, and playing sports. 

Being an athlete isn’t limited to organized sports; it extends to various physically demanding pursuits such as snowboarding, skiing, jogging, climbing, and hiking. Even those who aren’t inclined towards physical activity deserve attention. Therefore, all children, regardless of their activity level, should undergo a sports physical.

A sports physical helps the school ensure that students are free from any medical issues that could put them at risk of injury or illness when participating in athletics. Physicals can also provide an opportunity to detect any potential signs of health problems that could worsen if left untreated. 

What Are the Benefits of Having a Sports Physical? 


One of the most significant benefits of having a sports physical is the prevention of injuries through early detection. During the evaluation, providers will assess your overall health, look for any signs of disease or injury, and screen for any underlying medical issues you may not be aware of. 

This helps prevent minor injuries from becoming more significant problems down the road and can also help to prevent catastrophic events. Providers will also advise on how to stay safe while playing sports by suggesting specific strategies such as proper hydration and nutrition, stretching and warm-up exercises, proper technique when playing each sport, and even tips on equipment selection. 

How Can You Prepare for Your Sports Physical?


It is helpful to come prepared with a list of any medications or supplements you are currently taking, as this information is necessary when completing the physical paperwork. Additionally, it’s essential to have an up-to-date list of your immunizations and vaccinations so they can be included on the forms. Any allergies or other medical issues should also be noted in advance so they can be addressed during the appointment if necessary, as well as any previous injuries, including concussions. 

Who Should Go for a Sports Physical?


Anyone involved in sports, whether it is an amateur recreational activity or a more serious professional sport, should get a sports physical. It is important to ensure that the individual is physically fit for the sport and has no underlying medical conditions that could put them at risk. 

Do you require a physical for sports? Head to AFC to receive convenient and affordable healthcare services. 

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