Everything You Need to Know About a Sports Physical

sports physical

Spring will be here before we know it! That means it’s almost time for your child’s annual sports physical. If your child is starting school sports in the summer or fall, they’ll need to get their first physical. If your child had the exam last spring but is continuing in organized sports this summer, they’ll still need to go in for an updated one.

Keep reading to know everything you need to know before you take your child in for their sports physical.

What is a Sports Physical?

A sports physical exam is different from a standard medical physical in that it focuses on the patient’s eligibility to play sports. It takes into account family history, and the child’s recent injuries or trips to the hospital. Though it is a medical exam, it should not replace a child’s annual check-up with their pediatrician.

Why Do You Need to Get One?

Student-athletes need to get sports physicals to make sure they are well enough to compete throughout the year. They are a safety precaution for your child as well as a health record for the school to have. In most cases, schools will not allow students to play sports without having an approved sports physical on record.

Where Do You Get a Sports Physical?

Your child’s regular doctor can perform a sports physical. Or, you can visit walk-in clinics to see if they have a practitioner available. In the spring, you may notice signs that indicate sports physicals are available at your local pharmacy, too.

What Do You Wear to a Sports Physical?

Make sure your child dresses comfortably. Wearing clothes they can move in is important. The doctor may ask them to perform simple stretches and exercises.

How Long Does a Sports Physical Last?

Typically, sports physical exams take around 15-30 minutes. If it’s your child’s first one, it may take a little longer. If you’re visiting the same doctor who did your child’s previous exams, they may be able to skip some of the standard questions regarding family medical history. They’ll already have that information on file for reference.

What Do They Do in a Sports Physical?

First, the doctor will ask you and your child about any important family medical history. Do you have a history of congenital heart conditions? Does your child have asthma? Have they ever experienced shortness of breath?

They’ll also ask about your child’s current level of activity and whether they’ve had any major injuries or hospitalizations recently. Finally, they may ask your child to fill out a form about their daily habits and perform a few mobility and flexibility exercises.

How Long Is a Sports Physical Good For?

A sports physical is good for one year. Check with your local state or school requirements regarding when a sports physical needs to be completed. For some areas, kids may be required to have their physical in the spring. For others, getting it done six to eight weeks before their season starts is preferred.

What to Do After Your Physical

After your child passes his or her exam, they will be given a copy of their check-up form to submit to their school or athletics administrator. With this information in hand, your child’s next sports physical will be a breeze. Call or get in touch with us to book your appointment.

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