What Is a Sports Physical and Who Should Have One?

It’s back-to-school time, so if you have kids in the house, or even if you just happen to know some kids, you may have been hearing about how they need to get a physical to play sports. Most people know that kids are supposed to get a physical exam before they can participate in sports activities.

But, did you know that adults should get sports physicals, too? Or that kids sometimes need both a routine annual physical exam in addition to the one they need for getting cleared for participation in sports?

At People’s Care Health Systems you can get a sports physical, regardless of age. Here’s what you need to know and why you should book an appointment.

Get a baseline

When you have a sports physical, Dr. Martinez gets a baseline of your health status. You can expect her to document your:

With a baseline established, Dr. Martinez can track how your health changes over time. If you’re beginning a sport or new activity, she can see how it affects your health.

For children and teens, a baseline measurement lets Dr. Martinez measure their development, as well as check to make sure their social and emotional health is on track.

It’s about context

One of the main differences between a routine, annual physical and a sports physical is context. Rather than simply checking your general health, Dr. Martinez examines you in the context of playing your particular sport.

For example, if you’re joining a basketball league, but you’ve had problems with your knees in the past, your physical will likely include more focus on your knees that a regular physical would. The context of what you or your child will be doing is important.

Your goals are important

Your reasons for participating in a sport are important, too. If you’re just beginning to exercise and trying out an enjoyable activity that you haven’t done before or you haven’t done in a long time, your goals will be different than if you’ve been training for years and want to improve your performance. And in both cases, a physical is likely to help you reach your goals.

For children and teens, the goal is likely to play safely, and a sports physical insures there are no hidden injuries or unidentified health issues to impede safe play.

Your history is also important

Regardless of age, part of your sports physical will include your medical history. You should disclose any injuries you’ve had in the past or health conditions, such as asthma, or diabetes so that you and your physician can discuss them in the context of your sport.

You’ll need to answer questions about any medications you take, as well as whether you use contact lenses or wear glasses, and about any family health conditions. Children and teens need to have current vaccinations and information about past illnesses, current conditions, and any injuries.

Sports can be an enjoyable way to exercise, as long as you play safely, using proper equipment. A sports physical is a good way to make sure you’re ready to improve your health through sports. Book your appointment online or by phone at People’s Care Health Systems today!

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