Understanding Sports Physical

Sports physical, also known as Pre-Participation Physical Examination (PPE) in the medical field, can help determine whether or not a child is physically fit to safely participate in sports. In addition, anyone who’s starting an exercise routine or sports should always consult a healthcare professional first.

Although quite similar, a sports physical exam and an annual physical exam are two different things and should be done separately. Sports physical focuses on your child and family’s health history that can have a direct impact on your child’s ability to play any type of sports. Contrarily, annual checkup covers the whole over-all checkup. Usually, a PPE is required from a player before he or she is allowed to participate in any sports activity.

Why Your Child Needs A Sports Physical Exam

The doctor will not assess your child’s body type is ideal for sports or not. Rather, they would look for reasons why your child should not participate in any type of sports – if there are any. The very main reason why you need to have your child undergo a sports physical exam is to ensure their success and safety in sports.

If your child has a history of a broken leg, your doctor can create an exercise routine or some specific stretches that your child should do before and after practice to lower the risk of getting the same injury again. When your child is actively participating in sports, a routine sports physical exam should be done year after year so that you can understand more what your child’s natural physical state is. You can easily identify and pinpoint any possible dangers your child might have because of sports. Your child may already be experiencing muscle mass deterioration. It’s always better to know beforehand so that you can do preventive measures before something bad really happens.

Objectives of a Sports Physical Exam

  • Screen your child for conditions that may be life-threatening
  • Prevent your child athletes from any physical and/or internal injuries or illnesses
  • Determine your child’s overall health
  • It serves as a starting point to the health care system for teenagers
  • Provide an avenue to communicate with your doctor about any health-related topics

What A Sports Physical Exam Results Can Do

After your doctor performs a sports physical exam, the doctor will base his or her findings from your child’s history and the physical exam itself, your child athlete may be:

  • Cleared for participation without any restriction
  • Cleared for participation with a doctor’s recommendation for a continuous evaluation or treatment
  • Not cleared for participation in some of in all types of sports and would occasionally require further evaluation

Why A Sports Physical Exam Should Be Done At Your Doctor’s Clinic

Ideally, a sports physical exam should be done at least six months prior to the start of the season’s practice. A 6-week period can allow adequate time for further evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation, if necessary. These procedures should also be done at your doctor’s medical clinic. This allows your doctor to know the athlete personally and he already has access to your child’s complete medical records.

A medical clinic’s setting also provides a safe, quiet environment which makes it easier to perform an accurate sports physical exam and it’s also more private for the athlete. Sports physical exam that is done at your doctor’s clinic can allow more time to discuss sensitive health issues. It also makes easier to coordinate with other different consultants when needed for any follow-up evaluation or treatment.

The Downside of Mass Sports Physical Exam

If your child performs his sports physical exam at mass evaluations, which is usually done in a school setting, you may be compromising your child’s physical well-being as an athlete. Yes, it’s cheaper, more convenient, less hassle for both your child and you. However, waiting times are longer and discussing any medical history in a noisy environment can stop your child from getting the proper sports physical exam they deserve.

Usually, young athletes usually show up at mass evaluations by themselves with incomplete and possibly inaccurate knowledge about their medical history. Without their parents beside them, especially if they’re not capable of making a decision on their own just yet, the chances of life-threatening conditions increase.

Also, these evaluations are done by doctors who don’t know your child. Would you trust these doctors? Do you think you can trust their evaluations knowing that they don’t know your child’s medical history? Would you risk your child’s physical health? I bet you don’t.

On That Note

A sports physical exam should be thoroughly done by a doctor who truly cares for their patients. With Dr. Caceres and Dr. Garcia at Pediatric Associates California, your child’s physical state is in good hands. You can reach them at (559) 728-4133 at their Fresno office and at (559) 673-6085 at their Madera office.