It is that time of the year again when athletes start playing school sports. We all know that playing sports helps keep kids fit and is a fun way for them to socialize and make friends. But you might not know why it’s so important to get a sports physical at the beginning of their sports season.
About Sports Physicals
The sports physical exam helps determine whether it’s safe for an athlete to participate in a particular sport. The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) and other athletic associations require that participants have a sports physical before they can start a new sport or begin a competitive season. Sports physicals are good for two years and are transferable from one sport to the next. But even if a sports physical isn’t required, it is still highly recommend that your child have one prior to the start of a new sports endeavor.
What to expect during a sports physical
The athlete will be asked questions about their medical history. This part of the exam includes questions about:
- Family medical history
- Illnesses that kids had when they were younger or may now have, such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy
- Previous hospitalizations or surgeries
- Allergies (to insect bites, for example)
- Past injuries (including concussions, sprains, or bone fractures)
- Whether the child has ever passed out, felt dizzy, had chest pain, or had trouble breathing during exercise
- Any medications taken (including over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and prescription medications)
These questions are usually on a form that you’ll fill out with your child. Looking at the information provided is a good way to consider possible conditions kids might have. This is an important part of the exam, so take the time and answer the questions carefully and to the best of your knowledge.
During the physical part of the exam, the doctor will usually:
- Record height and weight
- Take a blood pressure and pulse
- Test your child’s vision
- Check their heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat
- Evaluate your child’s posture, joints, strength and flexibility
- At the exam, the health care provider will also ask questions about use of drugs, alcohol, or dietary supplements, including steroids or other “performance enhancers” and weight loss supplements that could potentially affect a person’s health.
By the end of the exam the health care provider will fill out and sign a form if everything checks out OK or, in some cases, recommend a follow-up exam, additional tests, or specific treatment for medical problems.
Importance of a sports physical
A sports physical can help athletes identify health problems which may interfere with their sports participation. The health care provider may have some good training tips and be able to give your athlete some ideas for avoiding injuries. For example, the health care provider may recommend certain stretching or strengthening activities, that help prevent injuries. They can also identify risk factors that are linked to specific sports. Advice like this will make kids better, stronger athletes.
If your athlete is in need of a sports physical, don’t look any further. Astia has the health care providers available to help today. Stop in at our Shopko or Marathon locations, or call us at 888-885-4434 to set up your sports physical. Our staff will be happy to provide you with more information or answer any questions you may have.