What to Expect from a Sports Physical Exam

The physical exam is a common part of a teenager’s life and is important for those who want to get into athletics or other physical activities. Overall, the sports physical exam is meant to assess the teen’s fitness levels and make sure there are no health problems that could put the child at risk while participating in physical activity. While the examination is labeled as a “physical exam,” it goes beyond the physical aspects of the body.

What to Expect from a Sports Physical Exam

When your child goes into the physical exam, there are many things they should expect. The following are a few things to take note of before going in.

1. Medical History

One of the most important parts of the pediatrician’s assessment during the sports physical exam is the patient’s overall medical history. In this case, the parents must take an active role in bringing together all relevant information to report on their child’s health. Medical history should include things like migraines, allergies, or other things that might not be constant, as well as immunizations.

2. The Checkup

After the conclusion of the immunization and medical history, your child’s doctor will proceed to perform a general checkup of your child’s body. This starts with things such as taking height and weight as well as blood pressure and the pulse. Further parts include checking the heart and breathing patterns, as well as more in-depth observations such as vision.

3. Studies

As part of the process of the sports physical exam, your child will need to have certain specialized studies done that will take a few days. These studies will consist of urine and blood screening to make sure the child’s bodily functions are working well. In addition, there will be a genital examination for males to check for hernias.

4. Neurological and Muscular Functions

Finally, in order to determine if the body is physically able to carry out tasks required by sports, the doctor will look for any signs of neurological or muscular dysfunction. These are basic and involve testing reflexes and strength. The doctor will also check to see if the teen has good flexibility and mobility, along with their spinal alignment.

All of the above information will be used by doctors to determine whether or not your child is physically prepared to play sports or engage in other physical activities. Most of the time, the results of the checkup will take a few days, and after getting good reports from the blood and urine screening, your teen’s doctor will give your child the okay to be able to play.

However, sometimes a doctor might see a sign that is a cause for concern. In this case, the doctor will need to perform more tests outside of the normal sports physical exam, such as X-rays and further blood tests. While these might appear worrying, they are usually a matter of the doctor playing it safe to make sure your child is growing into a healthy adult.