A sports physical isn’t your regular physical or the well-child check-up you would bring your child or teen to. In our experience as a provider of pediatrics in Greenbelt, Maryland, we at Edge Pediatrics have seen how parents may sometimes confuse this to be a replacement for a regular physical—which isn’t so, primarily because a sports physical is more limited in scope.
This experience has made us realize that a briefer for sports physicals for parents will be helpful, especially for first-time parents. Here’s our very own from our Greenbelt pediatrics:
- What’s a sports physical?
Formally called a preparticipation physical examination (PPE), a sports physical is an exam to know whether your child or teen is safe and ready to participate in a new sport or begin a new competitive season.
- What is it for?
Missing or not undergoing a sports physical can lead to inconvenient and even dangerous situations. This is because potential problems that should have been recognized at the onset are not spotted. Thus, a sports physical is primarily done to screen for conditions and predispositions that may be life-threatening and pose potential problems to your child or teen.
Secondly, these are done to:
- Examine your child or teen’s general health
- Serve as the entry point for your child or teen to officially enter the healthcare system
- Provide your child or teen with opportunities to initiate discussions that involve their health
- When should I bring my child to a pediatrician in Maryland to get a sports physical?
We advise at least 6 weeks before the start of practice. This allows us enough time for the following:
- Further evaluation
- Treatment of identified conditions if any
- Rehabilitation of the affected body part/parts
- What does a sports physical consist of?
There are two main parts to a sports physical—a medical history review and an actual physical exam.
A medical history covers questions about your child or teen’s medical and family history. Some of the usual questions asked are on:
- Conditions you have when you were younger and those you have now
- Serious illnesses on your family
- Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications you are on
- Past hospitalizations and/or surgeries, if there are
- Past and present injuries
- Difficulties when doing exercises
On the other hand, their physical examination will consist of:
- Recording their height and weight
- Testing their vision
- Taking their blood pressure and pulse
- Checking their throat, lungs, heart, abdomen, nose, and ears
- Evaluating their posture
- Measuring their joint flexibility and strength
- What are the possible outcomes for a sports physical?
Based on the findings of your pediatric group from your child or teen’s history and exam, here are the likely outcomes of their sports physical:
- Cleared for participation without restriction
- Cleared for participation but with a recommendation for further evaluation or treatment
- Not cleared for participation in some or all sports, and possibly pending further evaluation
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