What Do Sports Physicals Cover & Why Are They So Important For Your Child?

Many parents take their children in for well checks or physicals, often since this the time of immunizations and rapid growth. If your child has decided to play sports at a club or at school, he or she will need a special kind of well check: a sports physical. While there are no standardized procedures for annual well checks, sports physicals are a little more structured since these medical documents need to be turned back into a sports camp or school district before a child is allowed to play. Take a look at what these kinds of exams should include and what they are important

What Will The Sport Physical Include?

Like a well check, your doctor will take your child's vitals and look for any growth spurts or weight changes that could place a strain on muscles and bones. If your child has grown quite a bit, the doctor will likely check your child's flexibility and posture, making sure they don't have symptoms of conditions like juvenile arthritis. Your doctor will then do a fitness assessment, by checking your child's heart, abdomen, ear, nose, and throat. If your child wears glasses, the doctor may refer you to an optometrist so that your child can get an updated prescription. If your child is playing a contact sport, then glasses may not be suitable--you may need to invest in prescription sports goggles or contacts.

Why is the Sports Physical so Important?

Every year, about 30 million kids participate in a sport, and about 3 million are injured. Even if you think your child can only get injured during games, keep in mind that about 62% of these injuries happen during practice. Since injuries are common, your child needs to have updated medical information so that coaches know how to act in case of an emergency--especially if your child has an underlying condition.

Can Children Play Sports if They Have an Underlying Condition?

A sports physical will let your doctor know whether or not your child's condition will affect their ability to play. They may be able to play a sport but within certain parameters. For instance, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease that impairs the heart, and it's a leading cause of sudden death in younger athletes. If your child has HCM, he or she may be allowed to play only if medication is being taken to control the condition. He or she may also only be allowed to play for a prescribed amount of time so that the heart isn't taxed.

If your child has a condition like scoliosis, he or she may be limited in which sports he or she is allowed to play. For example, traumatic sports like football are terrible for children with scoliosis since they put an immense amount of strain on the spine. But a child with scoliosis may be just fine in sports like swimming or soccer.

Lastly, even if a condition is quite common--like asthma--that doesn't mean that you should take it less seriously. You still need to have a sports physical and a doctor's permission. You also need to be prepared with medicine or an inhaler for any practice/game. 

Contact a local doctor in your area for more information on well checks and sports physicals. To learn more, contact a clinic like Kids First Pediatrics Of Fayetteville