First of all: What Is a Sports Physical?
Sports physicals, also known as pre-participation exams or PPE, are examinations handled by a medical professional to evaluate whether a child is physically able to participate safely in a sport.
For the parent who is a seasoned athlete, these can seem like a walk in the park. For the parent who is new to this arena (pun intended), it may seem a bit more daunting. There’s no need for concern, though. Prepare yourself before heading in for your appointment with some of these pointers. You’ll leave confident that all your concerns are addressed and your little one is at her safest.
How to Prepare for your Sports Physical
When you set up your appointment with the office staff, ask what forms you need to bring already filled out and what fees to cover. You might fill out a form like this one from the American Academy of Pediatrics. You’ll want to make a note of your family’s health history to bring to the doctor. Make a list of your child’s medications, recent surgeries, injuries, and illnesses as well.
When you take your athlete to the physical, you can expect a four-point exam to cover all bases (another intended pun):
- A nurse or office staff will record your child’s height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse.
- Your child will take an eye examination to ensure their vision is strong and healthy and not in need of extra supports.
- The medical history will be reviewed, so keep that list you made on hand.
- The doctor will check your athlete’s posture, joints, strength, and flexibility. They will also look at her heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat.
Questions to Ask
Now that you know what to expect, here are some questions you may want to ask your pediatrician when you’re there. 62% of sports-related injuries happen during practice — not during the game! Solid medical advice from your pediatrician will help you and your athlete take preventative measures to keep injuries at bay.
Do we need to make a medication change?
You’ll want to prepare questions that are specific to your child and their sport. For example, if your child has asthma and is a starting forward in soccer, you might need a different inhaler or dosage as her physical activity increases.
What are some specific stretches and/or nutrition tips we need to start implementing?
Again, based on your child’s athletic activity, he will benefit from different stretches that target specific areas of the body. Your pediatrician will know what muscles to give extra attention to and how to safely do so. He will also be able to offer insight into strong nutrition tips to make sure your athlete is at his healthiest.
What do we need to start doing differently at home to complement her new activity?
With this question, it is important to also be as transparent as possible about your home life with your doctor. Home life has a significant effect on your child’s overall health, including her mental and emotional health. Your doctor cannot give you proper medical help and advise if she doesn’t know what is going on in the home. On that same token, honor time for your child to speak privately with the doctor.
Where to Go to Get a Sports Physical
Now that you’re fully prepared for your star athlete’s physical, give us a call at (925) 326-6164. Our friendly staff hereat BASS Urgent Care are happy to serve our community and all their medical needs.