Who Needs a Sports Physical?

Sports physicals should not be considered optional. Any child who starts a season of play benefits from this essential checkup, as it helps ensure their health and well-being both on and off the field, court, or track.

Margaret Lubega, MD is a pediatric specialist who happily provides sports physicals to children and teens in Gastonia, North Carolina. Call First Pediatric Care Center so we can schedule your child’s physical before their season starts.

Which kids should get sports physicals?


Any child who plays sports really needs one. Most teams or schools ask that your child undergoes a sports physical before joining their program. If your child plays in club or recreation leagues, they may – or may not – be asked to get a physical before joining the game.

Even if your child isn’t officially “required” to get a sports physical, it’s a good idea. The visit gives your child a chance to connect with a health professional and make sure immunizations, screenings, and health information is up to date.

Plus, a physical can identify any underlying conditions that could cause a health problem during the season. Dr. Lubega can offer ways to manage a health condition, such as asthma, to prevent flare-ups during play and keep your child enjoying their sport and playing at their best.

An opportunity to review health history

Your child benefits from having all their medical records in one place and one provider who knows their health history. That way if problems arise, the information is readily available.

At a sports physical, Dr. Lubega reviews your child’s health history that includes information about family illness, childhood issues (such as diabetes or epilepsy), previous hospitalizations and surgeries, allergies, past injuries, and any medications they take regularly.

A thorough physical exam


A sports physical is different from an annual physical, but you can ask for it to be thorough enough to double as your child’s annual exam, which is an essential part of their health care.

At the sports physical Dr. Lubega notes your child’s basic health statistics, such as height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation. She’ll check your child’s vision as well as their ears, nose, throat, and abdomen, and she’ll listen to their heartbeat and breathing. To assess their body for sports play, she’ll also check your child’s reflexes, posture, joints, and flexibility.

Usually, a sports physical is the same for boys and girls, but the doctor may ask gender-specific questions if your child is near or has gone through puberty.

How a sports physical helps

A sports physical can be a time where a health problem that interferes with play can be identified. If you’re already aware of such a condition, the sports physical offers a time for Dr. Lubega to provide additional support – such as a change in medication or treatment – so your child can successfully play.

Dr. Lubega may also provide training tips that can help your child avoid injury, especially if they play a sport that involves known risks. She can help girls avoid the female athlete triad, where excessive training and performance pressure can lead to poor nutrition, irregular menses, and a risk of poor bone density development.

When your child doesn’t get clearance

It’s possible for your child to be deemed unfit to play their sport. This is rare, but usually due to medical concerns about a recent injury, such as a concussion or stress fracture. Hernias, heart murmurs, or uncontrolled asthma can also keep your child from passing their sport physical. If this happens, Dr. Lubega isn’t punishing your child. She’s trying to keep them as healthy and as safe as possible. Plus, she’ll offer the medical support they need to get healthy so they can get back to doing the sports they love.

Every child who is planning to play a sport benefits from a sports physical. To schedule one for your son or daughter, call us at First Pediatric Care Center or book the appointment online.

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