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Why does my child require a sports physical?

Why Does My Child Need a Sports Physical?

As a parent, it’s important to make sure your child is healthy and ready to participate in sports. One of the best ways to do this is by scheduling a sports physical. A sports physical is a thorough checkup that helps find any issues that might make it dangerous for a child to play. It is also a chance to check a child’s fitness level and make sure they are healthy enough for certain physical activities. These types of physicals are frequently required for students starting the school year.

Even though these kinds of exams may seem like a hassle, they can be an important way to keep your child safe and find problems that need to be dealt with. Let’s look at what a sports physical includes and its different benefits.  

Understanding Sports Physicals

Pre-participation physicals, school sports physicals, and camping and club sports physicals are a few examples of the various names of sports physicals. Before a child is allowed to take part in any of these activities, they usually have to get a physical. 

Since they perform them for safety and insurance and liability purposes, there is very little chance you can or should avoid having one. 

It includes: 

  • Physical exam: Similar to a normal physical, a doctor will go over your child’s physiology, reflexes, and motor function. 
  • A look at the child’s health history
  • Any lab or imaging tests that are needed: This is rare, but if there are things that raise a concern or need further clarity based on the physical exam and medical history, your doctor may recommend ordering certain tests.

The Importance of Sports Physicals for Children

Children need sports physicals for a number of reasons, including finding medical problems, figuring out how fit they are, and getting the green light to play.

Identifying Medical Conditions

An essential part of a sports physical is a thorough medical history review, which lets a healthcare professional spot any potential warning signs. A sports physical, for instance, might identify a heart condition that would make it risky for a child to play particular sports. This information is important for the child’s safety and well-being, and it could also prevent serious accidents or even death.

Assessing Fitness Level

Sports physicals offer a chance to evaluate a child’s level of fitness as well. This involves taking measurements of heart rate, blood pressure, and lung function. By looking at a child’s overall fitness, they can see if there are any areas that need to be improved or if any special considerations need to be made. 

For example, if a child has high blood pressure, a doctor or nurse might suggest making changes to the child’s diet and getting them to move around more. Also, by figuring out the child’s level of fitness, the doctor or nurse can come up with an exercise plan that is right for them and fits their needs. In this case, sports physicals empower your doctor to give more tailored guidance to your child’s specific needs rather than the generic ones you get during routine checkups when their BMI is higher than normal. 

The right treatment or guidance can fix or reduce a child’s physical problems in most cases. This part of a sports physical shows your child how to be in the best physical shape possible. 

Clearance for Participation

Sports physicals are often required for granting permission for a child to participate in sports. This makes sure that the child is healthy and able to play sports in a safe way. For kids who need to have underlying medical conditions taken into account, this is especially crucial. For instance, a child with asthma might need to carry an inhaler to practices and competitions.

A doctor or nurse can give you a clear idea of whether or not your child can safely play sports while taking care of their medical condition and permit them to do so. These types of tests are especially important in contact sports like football. However, underlying challenges can arise even from seemingly low-intensity activities like running or tennis. 

Updated Vaccinations

Physicals provide an opportunity to update a child’s vaccinations. Many sports organizations need kids to have all of their shots up-to-date before they can join. A sports physical can ensure that a child has all necessary vaccinations and is protected against diseases that can be prevented. This is especially important for kids who play sports like football or basketball, who have to be close to other players.

Final Thoughts

Sports physicals are an important part of ensuring that children are healthy and ready to participate in sports. They help identify underlying medical conditions, assess fitness levels, and provide clearance for participation. They also provide an opportunity to update vaccinations. It’s important to schedule a sports physical for your child before the start of any sports season, and Anderson Medical Walk-In Clinic is a great option for parents.

References:
American Academy of Pediatrics — Preparticipation Physical Evaluation (PPE)
National Athletic Trainers’ Association — NATA Issues New Recommendations on Preparticipation Physicals and Disqualifying Conditions
National library of Medicine — Sports Physicals (Davis, Gerena, Kane)

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