Is your child new to sports? Children who participate in school sports need to have what is commonly called a pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE), or a sports physical. Although they can be done at the same time, the sports physical does not take the place of the annual physical; it is more specific to the needs of the student athlete, but both should still be scheduled.
You probably already know that a regular annual physical includes a thorough physical exam and covers basic developmental concerns to make sure that your child is healthy in all areas. The doctors at Urgent Care make sure that your child is up to date on necessary immunizations and isn’t showing any signs of illness, review your family medical history, and ask age-appropriate behavioral questions (ie – alcohol use/awareness, etc.)
Sports physicals are more specific and address issues that are related to sports and training, like injuries, nutrition, and exercise. These types of physicals ensure that your child is prepared for the type of sport they’re going to be doing and help prevent injury. Sometimes we can also give advice on different types of stretches or exercises that can be done, depending on your child’s specific situation. For example, if your child has a previous injury, we can advise on modified exercises to do to avoid further straining that area.
The goal of the sports physical is to ensure that your child is cleared to participate in certain sports and to prevent any injuries from such participation. It is highly unlikely that the sports physical will result in your child not being cleared to participate, so it’s best to view this as an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming sports season and perhaps gain valuable insight to help your child perform his or her best. For example, if your child is on certain medications, he or she may be more sensitive to sunlight, so the doctor might remind you to be sure to use sunscreen when practicing or playing outdoors.
Typically, the sports physical should be done at least six weeks prior to the sports season. This allows time to follow up on any concerns that were identified during the appointment. As mentioned earlier, the sports physical can also be done at the same time as the annual physical. Please feel free to ask the doctors at Urgent Care about any questions or concerns you have about your child’s physical or sports participation during your visit.
Even if your child isn’t participating in sports, it’s still essential to get a physical once a year so we can help ensure your child is healthy and well-adjusted. Remember to bring a list of medications or the medications that your child takes with you to the appointment, in addition to your child’s glasses or contacts, if applicable. If you have a sports physical form from your child’s school, fill out as much as you can and bring it to Urgent Care; we’ll take care of the rest!