You already know that playing sports helps keep you fit. You also know that sports are a fun way to socialize and meet people. But you might not know why it's so important to get a sports physical at the beginning of your sports season.
What Is a Sports Physical?
In the sports medicine field, the sports physical exam is known as a preparticipation physical examination (PPE). The exam helps determine whether it's safe for you to participate in a certain sport. Most states actually require that kids and teens have a sports physical before they can start a new sport or begin a new competitive season. But even if a sports physical isn't required, doctors still highly recommend getting one.
During the physical part of the exam, the doctor will usually:
-record your height and weight
-take a blood pressure and pulse (heart rate and rhythm)
-test your vision
-check your heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
-evaluate your posture, joints, strength, and flexibility
At the end of your exam, the medical provider will either fill out and sign a form if everything checks out OK; or, in some cases, recommend a follow-up exam, additional tests, or specific treatment for medical problems.
Why Is a Sports Physical Important?
A sports physical can help you find out about and deal with health problems that might interfere with your participation in a sport. For example, if you have frequent asthma attacks but are a starting forward in football, a medical provider might be able to prescribe a different type of inhaler or adjust the dosage so that you can breathe more easily when you run.
Even if your sports physical exam doesn't reveal any problems, it's always wise to monitor yourself when you play sports. If you notice changes in your physical condition — even if you think they're small, such as muscle pain or shortness of breath — be sure to mention them to a parent or coach. You should also inform your phys-ed teacher or coach if your health needs have changed in any way or if you're taking a new medication.
Just as professional sports stars need medical care to keep them playing their best, so do teenage athletes. You can give yourself the same edge as the pros by making sure you have your sports physical.
Come by Premier Urgent Care for sports physicals and most wellness exams!