If your child wants to participate in a competitive sports program — a sports physical is the required first step. Although a sports physical does include an assessment of your child's health, it is not the same as an annual health physical. If your child has never had one of these exams performed before, here is more about what to expect.
Family Medical History
The provider will need to find out more about the history of the immediate family members, including parents, grandparents, and sometimes siblings. This information is very important because it provides a glimpse of any potential health concerns your child might be at an elevated risk for that may impact their ability to engage in sports, including heart-related issues.
Joints and Flexibility
It does not matter if the child is playing soccer, football, or ice hockey, there is not a sport that does not require healthy joints and good flexibility to participate. Poor joint health and flexibility can often signal the rate at which the child will be prone to injury. Based on this finding, the provider can provide you and the child with a list of strength-building exercises or other measures that can be taken to provide greater support in these areas to lower this risk.
It is also important to understand that when your child is out on the field giving their all, their heart will also be performing at maximum output. Heart health is sometimes overlooked in children as an unnecessary concern, but if your child will participate in sports, it is a part of the body that must be assessed. In addition to the family health screening, the provider will also check your child's' blood pressure and pulse to see if there is any cause for concern.
Your child will also likely receive a pass or fail recommendation on the sports physical. The main priority of the medical provider and the sports team staff is to ensure that all participants are safe. If the provider does not feel that your child would be safe participating in the sport based on their current health status, they will make a notation on the physical that, based on their professional recommendation, it is not safe for the child to participate.
If you have additional questions, the provider performing the physical will be more than happy to answer them for you, so do not hesitate to speak up with your concerns.
To learn more, contact a resource like Port City Pediatrics.