If your child plays basketball, soccer, or some other winter sport, it
may be time for yet another sports physical. Why does my child need another
physical? We just did that before school started! Even though he or she
may have just had a physical prior to the start of the school year, this
visit has a very different focus than the yearly well child exam.
The adolescent sports physical focuses on your child’s readiness
to participate in athletics and seeks to identify any issues that need
to be addressed to ensure wellbeing and safety during intense physical
activity. Your pediatrician will obtain a detailed history from you regarding
previous sports participation, medical issues, and injuries sustained,
in addition to asking many screening questions. There are some medical
conditions and situations that may prevent your child from sports participation,
and it is important that we identify any that may exist at this visit.
Then, we perform a comprehensive physical exam, paying special attention
to your child’s heart, lungs, and musculoskeletal system. Close
attention will be paid to your child’s heart in order to detect
signs of serious, though rare, conditions that may put athletes in danger.
We will also check for any breathing problems (such as asthma) as well
as evaluate the athlete’s joints, bones, and muscles for strength,
flexibility, and previous injury.
Once we have all of the above information, we can then work with you to
formulate a plan for your child’s safe sports participation. Sometimes
further testing or medication will be needed at this point. We also may
refer your child to physical therapy if we feel that this will help maintain
your child’s ability to safely participate. With your child’s
best interests at heart, we may delay clearing him or her for activity
until certain things are completed. Counseling and further anticipatory
guidance are also done at this point. Most times, all that remains is
for us to sign the form and wish your athlete good luck on the upcoming