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Ultimate Sports Physical Guide: What, How, When, and Why Is It Done

March 18, 2024

Ultimate Sports Physical Guide: What, How, When, and Why Is It Done

What Is a Sports Physical

A sports physical, also known as a pre-participation physical examination (PPE), is a medical evaluation that determines if a child is physically able to safely participate in school-sanctioned athletic activities. 

Many seasoned parents wonder at some point in their child’s athletic career if it is really necessary to do this every season. The answer is: YES. An annual physical is pertinent to ensuring your child is at their healthiest. It can help avoid any unnecessary or avoidable injuries. Better to see the doctor when you're well than to have to see him because you're hurt.

How Is a Sports Physical Done

There are generally four parts to a sports physical:

  1. A nurse practitioner or office staff member will record your child’s vitals: height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse.
  2. An eye exam will check your athlete’s eyes and make sure their vision won’t negatively interfere with their activity. 
  3. Your child's and her family’s medical history will be reviewed, so come prepared with a list. This helps identify any potential problems that might need further testing or a visit with a specialist. 
  4. The doctor will give a thorough fitness check, including a physical exam of the heart, lungs, and abdomen to check for any limitations. Joints, flexibility, and posture will be assessed to identify any areas that may be more prone to injury. This is where any preemptive measures, if necessary, are identified. 

When Should I Take My Child to Get a Sports Physical

It is generally advisable to have your athlete’s physical done at least six to eight weeks before the season starts. Check with your school for their specific requirements. 

It can also be done at your child’s annual wellness check-up, but should never be instead of her annual. The physical does not encompass everything that is covered at your child’s annual. Make sure you are getting both taken care of to keep your child at their healthiest. 

Why Is a Sports Physical Necessary

Getting a sports physical done for your child is crucial to ensuring they are physically capable of participating in their chosen sport. One in three children who plays a team sport gets injured to the point that they have to miss a practice or even a game. Taking your child to your pediatrician to get a full, comprehensive physical is a major step in preventing injury.

Please note: although generally associated with school-age athletes, it is wise for anyone starting a new exercise or sport to get a physical. Taking on a new activity can do wonders for your overall health, but you need to make sure you are safe and ready. A physician is equipped to tell you if you are, and what to do if not.

Where Can I Get a Sports Physical Near Me

You know the importance of taking your child to the doctor for a sports physical and now you’re ready to schedule an appointment. Give us a call at (925) 962-9120 and one of our friendly staff members will be happy to help you set one up and answer any more questions you might have. Here at BASS Primary Care, we love making sure that our local athletes are at their healthiest.

At BASS Primary Care Walk-in Clinic, it's Your Health, Your Schedule.