If your child has plans to try out for a team sport in school, it's likely that the school will request that he or she have a sports physical performed. They not only protect the school, but most of all your child. Learn why schools often require sports physicals and what you and your child can expect at the appointment.
Why Are Sports Physicals?
A sports physical is an exam that is given to school-aged children who participate in school sports programs. It is sometimes called a pre-participation physical examination or PPE because before you participate in any sports activities, you must have this test and be cleared for physical activity. The doctor takes a close look at the child’s medical history and also checks for ailments and conditions. You can get a sports physical done at your pediatrician's office.
Why Do Schools Request Physicals?
Schools take on a great risk when they allow your child to participate in team and individual sports. The school nurse and coaches must be aware of any medical conditions that may affect your child's performance or put the child at risk when playing school sports. For instance, if a child has asthma, the coach needs to be aware of this to ensure that he or she isn’t overexerted and always has plenty of medication nearby. School physicals are also usually mandated by the state.
What to Expect at a Sports Physical
Going in for a sports physical is not much different from a regular exam. The student athlete will likely go through the following tests:
- height and weight check
- blood pressure reading
- vision test to see if the child may need prescription glasses
- check joints, posture and muscles
- check ears, nose and throat
- evaluate the condition of the child’s heart and lungs
There may be additional tests required depending on state and school requirements. When the physical is completed, the doctor will send your child back to school with a note indicating whether he or she is cleared to play sports.
Schedule Your Child's Physical Today
It's a good idea to schedule a yearly physical for your child during the first days back to school or the weeks before school starts. This is because your child will need clearance before trying out for sports -- don't allow your child to miss out on becoming a part of the team because of a late sports physical.