In preparation for back-to-school and fall sports, many sports leagues and schools require youth to obtain a sports physical before participation in athletic
"Sports physicals are largely required prior to playing organized sports and for good reason," said Dena Nader, MD, Regional Medical Director with MedExpress. "Sports physicals raise awareness of any issues that may interfere with your child's ability to participate in a sport. Even if your child has received a general physical, it is important to also receive a sports physical prior to participation in physical activity."
General and sports physicals each focus on different areas of a child's health. Sports physicals are more targeted and specifically focus on the physical requirements needed to play a sport. A health care provider can identify areas that may be prone to injury and suggest tips and exercises to avoid future problems.
"If your child is involved in sports on an ongoing basis, they should receive a sports physical annually," said Nader. "And it's important to know what to expect from a sports physical. Many parents expect a physical examination but can forget that a complete medical history is an important component as well. Make sure to come prepared with your child's immunization records, if required, and any relevant information regarding previous hospitalization, surgeries, illnesses, allergies, medications or past injuries."
A standard sports physical includes an examination of a child's vitals including blood pressure and pulse, while also documenting weight and height increases as growth spurts can place added stress on joints, muscles and bones. Patients receive an eye exam and a fitness check of the cardiovascular system, heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat. The health care provider tests the child's joints and flexibility to identify areas susceptible to injury and potentially provide recommendations to avoid injury.
MedExpress is also supporting local athletes by sponsoring an Excellent Sportsmanship Facebook Contest for community teams. Teams of all ages and organizations are encouraged to submit a picture and a description of how they exhibit excellent sportsmanship. The top five teams with the most "likes" on Facebook will receive a donation toward their upcoming season. The first place winner will receive $3,000. All entries must be submitted by Sept. 10. For more information, visit medexpress.com/excellentsportsmanship.aspx.