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The last thing you want is for your child to be injured while playing a sport. Not only can this derail his or her entire season, but some injuries have long-lasting effects. 

You take your child in for a yearly check-up, but did you know that yearly sport physicals are just as important? In some cases, you may need to have your child undergo more than one if he or she is playing several sports. 

Why? Because physicals for children are the prime opportunity for your child’s pediatrician to assess his or her health in terms of a specific sport.

It’s best to have your student-athlete undergo a physical about six weeks before the season begins. Keep reading to find out the reasons why this is so important. 

Screen for Illnesses and Injuries

One of the most vital reasons to have your child undergo a sports physical is because it allows his pediatrician to determine if there are any other injuries or illnesses that will interfere with his participation in a given sport. 

In rare cases, the discovery of a health problem could exclude your child from playing. However, most of the time if there’s a health issue, her pediatrician will talk to you about how to manage it during the sports season. 

One example is chronic asthma. If your child suffers from this condition, it’s vital to know how to treat it while he’s playing a sport. This ensures that dangerous symptoms don’t arise and that he can continue enjoying his sport. 

Physicals for kids also ensure that you understand if your child is at risk for any injuries. This might be due to bones and muscles that are still developing or could be linked to a health issue. 

In either case, it allows you and your child to stay diligent to prevent injuries that can end the season too soon. 

Ensure Safety

For all the reasons listed above, a sports physical can prepare your child for proper safety on the court, field, or in the pool.

However, it also allows your pediatrician to talk to your child about how to stay safe while playing her chosen sport. This might entail talking about proper form or how to prevent overuse injuries. 

A sports injury can be debilitating and can cause problems for many years. As a parent, you want your child to enjoy a sport, but you don’t want to worry about the risk of a serious injury

A doctor is a great resource for educating you and your child about the risks involved with a given sport. He or she can also give you advice and tips for staying safe and preventing injuries.

In cases of illness, your doctor can provide ways to ensure your child’s good health. In the case of a contagious illness, the doctor can provide suggestions for ensuring that it doesn’t spread. 

You’re probably thinking of the COVID-19 pandemic at the moment. But this also includes other illnesses and conditions that can spread among athletes. That might be lice or athlete’s foot. 

Your pediatrician can discuss what symptoms to be on the lookout for, when to alert the coach, and when your child might need to sit out for recovery. 

Provide Clearance for Schools and Clubs

Most schools and clubs require clearance from a doctor that lets them know it’s safe for your child to play sports. For that reason alone, having a sports physical done is important. 

Health and safety are the top concerns when it comes to playing sports. So it makes sense that the organization your child is playing for requires proof that your child can safely participate. 

Often, there’s a form that your child’s school or sports club wants to have on file. You can take this document with you and ask the pediatrician to sign it so that you can return it before the season starts. 

What Happens During Sport Physicals?

In addition to knowing why sports physicals are so important, it’s also a good idea to help your child understand what to expect during the physical itself. 

This helps your child prepare and gives you the opportunity to talk about it beforehand. That makes your child more comfortable and helps instill its importance. 

Generally, a sports physical occurs in two parts. The first part is a question and answer session. Your child’s pediatrician will ask a series of questions about his health, which you can answer together. 

This will likely include information about family history of illnesses, any current health conditions your child has, and information about illnesses and surgeries your child may have had in the past. 

You’ll also discuss any past sports injuries and any medications your child is taking. 

The second part of the physical involves the exam. During the exam, your child’s pediatrician measures her height, weight, and vital signs. She’ll also have her blood pressure and heart rate recorded. 

The exam continues with a vision test, as well as a check of the major organs. That includes the heart, lungs, nose, throat, ears, and abdomen. 

Finally, your child’s pediatrician will examine your child’s joints, flexibility, strength, and posture. 

The Next Step

Now that you know how important sport physicals are, you can see why you should schedule one for your child today. 

The good news is that in most cases, your child will get complete clearance to play their chosen sport. Even with a health condition, most kids can still play.

Remember, the best time to have a sports physical done is about six weeks before the season starts. In the meantime, let us help you learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices for you and your children. 


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If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately, call your doctor, or go to the emergency room/urgent care.