As summer draws to a close and the back-to-school season approaches, you and your child are getting ready for new studies and activities. If your child is one of the 60 million children or teens rejoining a sport or starting one anew, it’s important to ensure they’re physically prepared for the challenges ahead.
At First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, Dr. Margaret Lubega strongly recommends a yearly sports physical for kids that hit the field, court, mound, or track. Here’s how a sports physical can help your child have the best season possible.
About sports physicals
A sports physical, also known as a preparticipation physical examination (PPE), is a comprehensive medical evaluation that assesses a child's overall health and fitness to engage in physical activities. This exam is an essential step in ensuring the safety and well-being of young athletes.
The purpose of a sports physical is twofold: to identify any underlying health concerns that may affect a child's ability to play sports and to prevent potential sports-related injuries.
Many teams require a sports physical before a child is approved to practice and play. But even if your child’s team does not mandate the physical, it’s a good idea to get one.
Reasons for a sports physical
As children grow and their bodies change, their ability to handle physical stress also evolves. Engaging in sports places various demands on the tissues and systems of the body. These include cardiovascular endurance, musculoskeletal strength, and flexibility.
A sports physical helps identify any potential issues that could lead to injuries or health problems during sports participation. By detecting these concerns early on, parents, coaches, and Dr. Lubega can take appropriate steps to ensure your child's safety and help enhance their performance.
Components of a sports physical
A typical sports physical includes two main components: the medical history review and the physical examination.
Medical history review
The medical history review involves gathering information about the child's past and current health. This may include previous injuries, chronic medical conditions, allergies, medications, and any family history of medical conditions. Providing accurate and detailed information is vital to help Dr. Lubega assess potential risk factors.
During the physical examination, Dr. Lubega assesses your child’s health, particularly:
- Vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate
- Vision and hearing
- Musculoskeletal factors like flexibility, joint stability, and strength
- Cardiovascular health
The physical exam identifies any possible concerns or irregularities that could interfere with your child’s ability to play their sport.
Benefits of a sports physical
Of course, ensuring your child’s safety should be reason enough to get a sports physical. The exam also provides other advantages, including injury prevention and performance improvements.
Plus, a sports physical can make your child aware of how their health and habits affect their game. Dr. Lubega talks to your child about healthy nutrition, puberty, and overtraining.
As your child eagerly prepares to rejoin their sports team or start a new sport, remember that a sports physical is a crucial step in ensuring their well-being and success on the field. Call First Pediatric Care Center today or use the online tool to schedule your visit.