After the last three years of the pandemic, we’ve seen, without a doubt, how important sports can be for children’s physical, social, and mental health. Simply put, sports participation can enrich your child’s health and overall well-being.
Prior to beginning a school or community sports season, it’s often required for your child or teen to have a sports physical conducted by a primary care provider. Here’s what you need to know about sports physicals to ensure your child’s readiness to play:
The basics of a sports physical
For adults and children, a physical, or well check, is a primary care visit where the provider helps determine the status of one’s health. Physicals are conducted by an MD, DO, ARNP or PA.
In the case of sports physicals, the purpose is to ensure that your child is healthy enough to play a sport. The exam focuses on making sure there are no underlying health issues or lingering injuries that could put their well-being at risk.
What to expect during a sports physical
The official term for a sports physical is pre-participation physical evaluation, or PPE.
At the PPE visit, the provider will take an in-depth family history and review your child’s medical history. This will cover such items such as physical and mental health, nutrition, growth, pre-existing conditions such as asthma or allergies, injury history, immunizations, and current medications.
Next, the provider will conduct the physical exam. For the majority of children, a physical usually ends with the provider finding nothing concerning and giving clearance to play. In such cases, you’ll walk away with the peace of mind of knowing your child is ready and able to play sports safely.
When sports physicals identify concerns
In rare cases where a potentially life-threatening complication like a heart defect is found, a sports physical can help to identify the diagnosis earlier, resulting in more timely treatment and ensuring appropriate precautions to minimize complications.
When concerns are identified, it doesn’t necessarily mean the child can’t play sports. On the contrary, by catching an issue early, a primary care provider can provide support in the way of medication, observation, and other treatment to allow your child to stay active and safe on the field and off.
How to schedule a sports physical for your child
Physicals are an important step to ensure your child’s health and sports readiness. They’re easy, routine, and require a short time commitment. In addition, they’ll help prepare your child to have the best time possible during their season by making sure they can safely compete.
To schedule a sports physical for your child at one of Western Washington Medical Group’s seven primary care locations, fill out our online appointment request form. At the appointment, your provider can also conduct an annual well child check-up, taking care of their healthcare needs all at one visit.
We look forward to supporting you and your family in health.