Your guide to back to school sports and camp physicals

Getting ready for back-to-school means adding parent-teacher conferences to your schedule, doing school shopping, and planning healthy school lunches. But something else should be on your back-to-school list: preparing for the fall sports season. One thing you need to do to prepare is to schedule your child’s sports or camp physical. Find out how to book school physicals near you at any of our urgent care clinics in New York.

Playing sports is a great way to help your child develop healthy lifestyle habits and confidence and learn the importance of teamwork. No matter which sports your adolescent or teen plays — baseball, football, soccer, or track and field — there is a chance that they could get hurt. The injuries can range from minor cuts and sprains to severe neck and back injuries seen in competitive cheer.

They need to be prepared to avoid getting injured or suffering an asthma attack on the court or field. A sports and camp physical is vital to preparing for team sports. It helps identify underlying issues like asthma and ensures that their bodies are conditioned for sports.

What is a sports and camp physical?

A sports and camp physical examination is a check-up that assesses your adolescent or teen’s health and fitness. The goal is to determine if your child has any health issues that could pose a problem if they play sports.

Are sports and camp physicals required?

Some schools and states won’t let children or teens play sports without having a sports physical. Some summer camps require sports physicals, as well. Even if your state doesn’t require a sports or camp physical, it’s an excellent idea for every adolescent or teen who plays sports or attends camp to get one done annually. This can ensure that your child has no medical issues that could make playing sports unsafe, such as undiagnosed heart conditions or asthma.

When is a sports physical done?

A sports physical exam should be done at least eight weeks before the season starts. That way, if the doctor or healthcare provider needs to refer your child to a specialist or perform additional tests, there will be enough time to do those things before the season starts.

Is a sports physical the same as a yearly check-up

No, a sports physical is not the same as a yearly check-up. Although a sports check-up may cover some of the same things as an annual physical, it is more limited and, therefore, should not take the place of your child’s yearly wellness exam.

What happens during a sports physical?

During the sports and camp physical, the medical examiner will ask about your child’s medical history and general health, including previous hospitalizations, injuries, or illnesses that might make it unsafe for your child or teen to participate in sports.

The doctor or healthcare provider will also review your child’s family medical history to determine if they are at risk for any diseases or illnesses.

The healthcare provider will perform a physical examination. They will check the following:

  • Heart and lungs
  • Ears, nose, and throat
  • Blood pressure
  • Pulse rate
  • Height and weight
  • Vision and hearing
  • Joint flexibility, posture, and spinal alignment
  • Neurological functioning
  • Reflexes, coordination, and strength
  • Genital exam (to screen for hernias)

The doctor may perform additional tests, such as X-rays, blood tests, or an EKG if needed. They may recommend immunizations if your child’s vaccinations are not up-to-date. Cholesterol testing is sometimes required depending on your child’s age.

What happens after the exam?

If the healthcare provider determines that it is safe for your child to play sports, they will give the green light without any restrictions. You should bring paperwork from your child’s school or camp for the doctor to sign. If issues could make it unsafe for your child to play sports or attend camp, the doctor may prescribe medications, such as an inhaler for asthma. If needed, the doctor may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation of an injury or condition.

Schedule an appointment for your child’s sports or camp physical at Nao Medical.

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Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered, construed or interpreted as legal or professional advice, guidance or opinion.

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