Youth Sports Physicals
October 26 2015 / By:
During the physical part of the exam, the doctor will usually:
- record height and weight
- take a blood pressure and pulse (heart rate and rhythm) reading
- test your child's vision
- check the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
- evaluate your child's posture, joints, strength, and flexibility
Although most aspects of the exam will be the same for males and females, the doctor may ask girls and guys different questions if they've started or already gone through puberty. For example, if a girl is heavily involved in a lot of active sports, the doctor may ask her about her period and diet to make sure she doesn't have something like female athlete triad.
A doctor will also ask questions about use of drugs, alcohol, or dietary supplements, including steroids or other "performance enhancers" and weight-loss supplements, because these can affect a person's health.
At the end of the exam, the doctor 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 a Sports Physical Is Important
A sports physical can help athletes find out about and deal with health problems that might interfere with their participation in a sport. For example, for a kid who has frequent asthma attacks but is a starting forward in soccer, a doctor might be able to prescribe a different type of inhaler or adjust the dosage for easier breathing during running.
The doctor may even have some good training tips and be able to give athletes some ideas for avoiding injuries; for instance, recommending specific exercises, like certain stretching or strengthening activities, that help prevent injuries. A doctor also can identify risk factors that are linked to specific sports. Advice like this will make kids better, stronger athletes.