Playing It Safe: Everything You Need To Know About Sports Physicals
January 7, 2023
If your child excels in sports, it's important to be aware of sports physicals. Similar to an introduction in a professional setting, it's vital to have your child undergo a sports physical before participating in sports. This ensures their well-being and minimizes the risk of any potential injuries.
Even professional athletes and players are required to undergo sports physicals. This highlights the importance of sports physicals for a child's overall well-being and fitness, both on and off the field.
Unfortunately, some parents find sports physicals to be unnecessary and complicated, which can lead to a nightmare scenario. It's crucial to comprehend the significance of sports physicals, address any concerns, and simplify the process to make it a hassle-free experience.
Pre-participation physical examinations (PPE), also known as sports physicals, are medical assessments conducted on students and adults to determine their ability to safely participate in sports based on their health.
During the physical, the doctor conducts several examinations of different body parts to assess whether the individual is physically capable of participating in rigorous sports training.
There is a common misconception that sports physicals are the same as regular annual full-body checkups. However, it's essential to understand that these checkups are different. While there may be some similarities between the two, there are additional examinations included in annual checkups that are not part of sports physicals. Therefore, it's crucial to conduct pre-participation physical examinations separately and as necessary.
The Procedure Involved in Sports Physicals
The sports physical examination comprises four stages, each catering to different checkups. It's important to note that all four stages are mandatory and must be completed in the following order:
Stage 1: Vital Checkup
The first stage involves a crucial checkup of height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse. While these may seem basic, they are vital in determining the stress on joints, such as knees, caused by added weight and height. Additionally, blood pressure and pulse measure the health of the heart, which determines whether the child can safely participate in sports and engage in rigorous exercise.
Stage 2: Eye Checkup
The second stage is an eye checkup, where the physician assesses the individual's vision and eyesight power to determine whether they need contact lenses or a change in prescription. This checkup is crucial as the eyes are the most critical sensory organs used in sports. Ensuring proper eyesight will help prevent any future injuries caused by the inability to see sports equipment properly, and it's vital for student-athletes and players to perform their best.
The next step is to inform the doctor of the child's complete medical history, including past injuries, illnesses, surgeries, and fractures. This information helps the doctor determine any necessary restrictions on sports activities due to past injuries or health concerns. Additionally, the doctor may recommend further checkups based on the child's medical history.
Stage 4: Fitness Check
The final stage is the fitness check, where the doctor assesses the flexibility and strength of the lungs, heart, joints, abdomen, and overall body. This test helps reveal any underlying health conditions that may prevent the child from participating in sports safely.
Information One Must Provide to the Doctor
It is essential to provide the following information to your sports physicals doctor, whether or not they ask about your health history:
Your allergies and the types of reactions you've had
A list of your vaccinations and the dates they were administered
Your medication regimen, including any prescription, over-the-counter, and dietary supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, and herbs
If you use braces, orthotics, contact lenses, or have piercings
Ailments you currently have or have suffered in the past
Your past medical history, including any fractures, dislocations, or concussions
Hospitalizations or surgeries you have undergone
Any instances of fainting, lightheadedness, chest discomfort, heat sickness, or difficulty breathing during exercise
A family history of ailments related to sports or physical activities, including any fatalities
A timeline of any weight gain or loss experienced.
In conclusion, it is crucial to take sports physicals seriously. While it may be a straightforward procedure, it is essential for every athlete to undergo a sports physical to determine if they are fit to participate in sports. This can prevent any future injuries that may be life-threatening and allow for the opportunity to play sports in the future, rather than losing the chance to do so permanently by engaging in unhealthy activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who needs to get a sports physical done?
Sports physicals are mandatory for all students participating in sports activities in educational institutions such as schools or universities. Additionally, many athletes associated with various sports organizations are also required to undergo these physicals. However, non-sports students are not required to have sports physicals done.
How often do I need to get the sports physical done?
Depending on the educational institution, the frequency of required sports physicals may vary. Some schools mandate a sports physical at the start of every season, while others only require it once a year. Once completed, a sports physical is typically valid for one year.
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