What Is a Sports Physical?
A sports physical is also called a preparticipation physical examination (PPE). This exam is performed in order to determine whether or not it is safe for you to participate in a sport. In many states, these tests are mandatory for teens and tweens before they’re able to begin a new sport or start a new competitive season. The two most important parts of this test are the physical exam and medical history.
For the physical part of this test, the doctor will check the following on your teen or tween:
• Height and weight
• Pulse and blood pressure
• Posture, strength, flexibility and joints
• Condition of the heart, abdomen, lungs, ears, throat and nose
Depending on your child’s age, the provider may ask some different questions as well.
During this part of the exam, the doctor will ask questions about:
• Severe illnesses among family members
• Previous surgeries or hospitalizations
• If your teen or tween has ever fainted or felt dizzy
• Any medication your tween or teen is currently taking
Why a Sports Physical Is Important
Sports physicals help your teen or tween by identifying and treating health issues that may interfere with their participation. For instance, if your child plays football and has asthma, the doctor can prescribe a special type of inhaler that allows them to breathe better as they run.
The doctor may even have some training tips and give your child ideas on how to avoid sustaining injuries. The most important thing for your teen or tween is to have medical clearance prior to playing sports. In fact, there are even cases where underlying conditions have been diagnosed during a routine sports physical.
Teens and tweens can never be too careful when playing sports. Anything can happen, so it’s best for them to always be prepared.