Why Your Child Needs to Have Sports Physicals

Why Your Child Needs to Have Sports Physicals

These days, it is better that your child remain as active as possible, inside and outside of school. With numbers of obese children becoming alarming over the last few years, thanks primarily to a lack of physical education in schools, it is important that your child play some kind of team sport, whenever possible. Additionally, to make sure that your child can physically handle the demands that sport will place on them, it is also vitally important that your child undergo sports physical before participating.

A Checkpoint for Health

As vitally important for your child’s health as vaccination, the seasonal sports physical can play a vital role in keeping abreast of your child’s overall health. In this way, if there is a health issue that you were not previously aware of, it will come to light during the physical exam. Even if your child can remain healthy year-round, it is still a wise idea for every parent to allow their child to have an annual physical every year, at least until their teens.

Most schools in the United States today that have an active roster of team sports require each participant to have sports physical before they can legally participate. In some regions, the school districts require not only yearly immunizations, but they also require a physical check-up before the child can be admitted to that public school district. The majority of states will even pay for them if the parents cannot afford to.

What to Expect

It is a way to assess a child’s health and fitness as it relates to the sport they will be participating in. Unlike an annual physical, the doctor will only be looking for diseases, health conditions or injuries that would prevent your child from participating in the sport of his choice. For example, if the sport will require a lot of running, the doctor would assess your child for signs of asthma or allergies, as well as physical endurance.

There will be times when the school will offer these types of physical exams on campus, with the option for the parents to have their child seen by their doctor. Wherever it takes place, it generally starts with an extensive medical history, followed by a basic physical exam. They normally have to be done at least six to eight weeks before the start of the season, giving time to treat any condition that might arise before the sport starts. Signs that the doctor will be looking for that may exclude your child from participating can include shortness of breath during exercise, dizziness, high blood pressure, fatigue, headaches, vision problems, joint problems or heart issues.

Decisions, Decisions

Following the initial physical exam, the doctor will complete the necessary paperwork that has to be filed with the school district or sports organization. If there are limitations or recommendations for improvement in regards to your child’s health, the doctor should discuss it with you first, before the final decision gets filed. Most children will be allowed to play, but the doctor has to weigh the results he found against the strain the sport will be put upon your child.

The final decision will be based upon the type of sport, what is involved during play, the level of competition, the size of the potential athlete, the type of equipment your child will be using, and whether your child understands how to play the sport safely. If there are conditions that can be remedied easily, like carrying an inhaler for asthma or an epinephrine injector for certain allergies, your child will most like be approved. Just remember, however, if your child does have some health issues, a sports physical should never take the place of annual checkups, because some health conditions like allergies or asthma can change as your child ages.