Sports Physicals

August is a sign that school will be starting and so will sports. Whether it’s required or voluntary, it’s always a good idea to get a sports physical at the beginning of your sports season.

What Is a Sports Physical?
In the sports medicine field, a sports physical is known as a pre-participation examination (PPE). The Footballpurpose of this exam is to determine whether or not it’s safe for a child, teen or adult to participate in a certain sport. Most schools require a sports physical but even if they don’t; doctors highly recommend getting one.

There are two parts of the sports physical, which include the medical history and the physical examination.

Medical History
This part of the exam includes:

  • serious illnesses among family members
  • illnesses you may have had when you were younger or may have now such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy
  • previous surgeries or hospitalizations
    a list of allergies
  • past injuries (including concussions, sprains, broken bones or fractures)
  • whether or not you’ve ever passed out, felt dizzy, had chest pain or trouble breathing during exercise
  • any medications that you are taking (including over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and prescription medications)

Physical Examination
During the physical part of the exam, the doctor will usually:

  • record your height and weight
  • take blood pressure and pulse (heart rate and rhythm)
  • test your vision
  • check your heart, lungs, abdomen, ear, nose, and throat
  • evaluate your posture, joints, strength, and flexibility

screenTypically, the exam is the same for males and females, however, if a person has gone through puberty, the doctor may ask girls and boys different questions. For example, if a girl is heavily involved in a lot of active sports, the doctor may ask her about her menstrual cycle and diet to make sure she doesn’t have something like female athlete triad (poor nutrition, irregular or absent periods, and weak bones).
A doctor will also ask questions about the use of drugs, alcohol, or dietary supplements, including steroids or other performance enhancers and weight-loss supplements. These can affect a person’s health.

Following the exam, a doctor will either fill out and sign off if everything checks out OK or, in some cases, recommend a follow-up exam, additional tests, or specific treatment for medical problems.

Why Is It Important to Get A Physical Exam?
A sports physical can help uncover health problems and issues that may interfere with your participation in sports. For example, if you have asthma attacks, and you’re playing basketball, a doctor may prescribe a different kind of inhaler or adjust the dosage so that you can breathe easier when you run.
A doctor may also have some great training tips to help you avoid injuries such as certain stretching or strengthening activities, that help prevent injuries. A doctor can also identify risk factors that are linked to particular sports. It’s the kind of advice that will make you a better and stronger athlete.

What Happens If There Is a Problem?
What happens if you don’t get the green light from your doctor and have to see a specialist? Does that mean you won’t ever be able to play a sport? It’s possible that you may require other tests or go for a follow-up exam. It could be as simple as rechecking your blood pressure a week or two after the physical. There’s now way of telling whether or not you can participate in a sport until a referral specialist has seen you.
The ultimate goal of the sports physical is to make sure you’re safe while playing sports, not to stop you from playing, unless your health is in danger.
Compass Urgent Care charges $25 for a sports physical. We’re open daily, and there is no appointment necessary. For questions, give us a call at West Mobile – (251) 633.2273 or Compass Providence – (251) 634.2273.

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