Posted on June 02, 2022

Why Do Kids Need a Sports Physical?

girl in blue jersey dribbling soccer ball past girl in green jersey

As back-to-school time approaches, it’s likely your to-do list includes a sports physical for your kids. If you’re wondering why school districts and youth leagues often have this exam as a requirement, this article will discuss the importance of sports physicals and the benefits they offer to overall health and wellness.

What is a Sports Physical?

A sports physical is important to determine if it’s safe for a child to participate in sports. It can help identify any potential health issues that could cause problems during these activities. Here’s what you can expect during this exam:

  • Review of family medical history
  • Review of any previous injuries or illnesses
  • Height and weight measurements
  • Check blood pressure and heart rate
  • Vision test
  • Assess strength and flexibility
  • Check head, ears, neck, throat, heart, lungs, and abdomen

In the unlikely case your doctor has any concerns, they may refer you to a specialist for additional testing or recommend treatments like physical therapy.

Why Do Kids Need a Sports Physical?

While sports physicals are typically required by schools and other organizations, they’re not just for athletes in organized sports. Children participating in any physically demanding activities like theater or skiing can benefit from a regular exam. These are a few other key reasons kids need sports physicals.

  • Different than annual physical. You might be wondering: What’s the difference between a sports physical and an annual physical? A sports physical focuses primarily on your child’s current state of health and overall medical history to ensure they’re fit to play their sport of choice. An annual physical is more comprehensive, looking at current health, as well as developmental, social, and mental health.
  • Creates successful outcomes. A sports physical can actually help your child be more successful at their sport and find more enjoyment. For example, if your child suffers from asthma, a doctor can help develop an effective treatment plan so they’re not limited by breathing issues when participating in activities. A doctor can also help you understand any risks associated with certain sports and how to prevent them.
  • Help manage stress. In addition to physical demands, sports come with their fair share of mental demands. Whether it’s pressure to perform from coaches, difficult teammates, or high personal expectations, your family medicine doctor can help your child identify healthy ways to deal with stress.

4 Benefits of Regular Physical Exams

Beyond the sports physical, regular physical exams are especially critical for children and teenagers. Here are four of the biggest benefits of staying current on their annual appointments.

Develop Relationships

When something is feeling off, you want your child to have a trusted medical professional they can turn to. The benefit of visiting a primary care physician for an annual physical is that your child can develop a positive relationship over the years. Plus, their doctor will also understand their medical history and can help diagnose issues quickly and accurately.

Adapt to Changes

Any parent can tell you a child’s development happens fast. The shoes you bought two months ago don’t fit anymore or their ravenous appetite makes it impossible to keep the refrigerator stocked. This rapid development is what makes it so vital for your child to have an annual physical. Their doctor can ensure growth is on track, provide guidance about changes your child is experiencing, and define a course of treatment for any issues.

Stay Current on Immunizations

Immunizations allow children to avoid painful and dangerous conditions like chickenpox, measles, mumps, whooping cough, and many others. In some cases they may even be required to attend school or participate in sports. With regular visits, a doctor can help ensure your child is getting the right immunizations at pivotal points in their development and keep their medical records up-to-date.

Address Concerns

A primary care doctor is a resource for both children and parents. Bring any questions or concerns you have to the appointment. The doctor can talk through them with you and help address any possible issues. Additionally, regular doctor visits can help parents understand growth and development milestones, preventative care measures, and ways to keep children safe as they get older.

Schedule a Sports Physical at Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa

If you’re in need of a sports physical in the Cedar Rapids area, trust the skilled family medicine doctors at Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa. We’re ranked in the top 10% for patient satisfaction, and even offer walk-in appointments for urgent needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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