Sport Physicals 101
We have all experienced a yearly check-up, aka yearly physical, where the doctor checks your weight, height, funny bone, etc. Ok, maybe not your funny bone–on purpose, but they do check all the necessities of ensuring you’re healthy. So, what’s the point of getting a sports physical if you’ve already done your yearly examination? Well, for one, most schools won’t let a student participate in a sport unless they get a physical examination done regardless of if they played the previous year or have already had their yearly physical. But let's take a deeper dive into what a sports physical entails.
What Exactly is a Sports Physical?
Sports physical, also referred to as a preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE), is an exam that ensures you’re healthy and able to play a specific sport. Some states don’t require this examination before playing a sport, but 9/10 doctors will recommend that you still take part in a sports focused physical.
A sports physical focuses more on the athlete’s health history and physical exam only. It is much more limited than your regular check-up as the doctor or nurse will only ask questions pertaining to a specific sport or ability to move a certain part of the body. For example, if your sport is tennis, then they might focus more on the movement of your arms than that of your legs. During a sports physical they might also talk about the need for vaccinations, as well as how to properly care for your body while you are playing the sport.
The saying “eating an apple a day will keep the doctor away” is most accurate when it comes to how to properly provide your body with nutrients and care that will help you perform the best in a certain sport. Here at HealthCARE Express, not only will we efficiently complete a sports physical, but we will also provide you with tools and knowledge of how to stay healthy throughout the sport season. Don’t forget to ask any and all questions you have including all concerns about playing a sport.
What happens during a sports physical?
Much like a normal physical, there are two parts of a sports physical: reviewing your medical history, and the physical exam.
During the medical history portion of your visit, it will most likely be in the form of questions either that the doctor asks you directly, or a form that you take home, and your parents/guardians can help fill in the answers. Some of the questions might be a little uncomfortable to answer, but the more honest and open you are, the easier it will be for the doctor to finish the exam and make sure you’re in the right headspace for playing a sport. The questions that might be asked include but are not limited to:
- Are there any medical problems that run in your family?
- Do you have any current medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, COVID-19, etc.?
- Do you have any previous hospitalizations and or surgeries?
- Do you have any allergies, including insect bites, etc.?
- Do you have any past injuries like broken bones, sprains, or concussions?
- Have you ever fainted/passed out, felt dizzy enough to have to sit down, had chest pain, or trouble breathing during exercise?
- Are you taking any medications including over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, or prescription medications?
- Boys will also be asked about testicle pain and girls will be asked about period pains.
- The doctor will also ask about smoking, vaping, other drugs, alcohol use, and performance enhancing supplements like steroids.
During the physical portion of the exam, the doctor will most likely:
- Record your height and weight
- Check your blood pressure and pulse
- Test your vision
- Check your heart and lungs
- Examine your muscles movements
- Examine your bones and joints
HealthCARE Express Provides Physicals and More
Here at HealthCARE Express, your health is our top priority. In order to give us time to possibly change your medication, or start physical therapy, etc. we ask that you schedule your sports physical 6 weeks prior to the start of the sport season. For most athletes, everything checks out fine, but our goal is to do everything we can to ensure you are safe throughout your sport season. We have 17 different locations that are all equipped with trained professionals that will guarantee to properly take care of you and your specific medical needs. Check out our website to find a location of the closest urgent care to you, give us a call, or email to schedule your next sports physical.