Millions of kids sign up for organized sports programs every year, through schools, community organizations, or private clubs. Sports offer plenty of opportunities for kids to form strong social bonds, learn leadership skills, and stay physically active, significantly reducing their risk of childhood obesity.
However, being active in sports can also increase your child’s risk of injuries. One way to help your child stay safe and prevent sports-related injuries is to make sure they have a sports physical — whether it’s required by their team or not.
Nevada Pediatric Specialists offers comprehensive sports physicals aimed at helping kids avoid injuries and enjoy their activities more. If you have a young athlete in your home, here’s what happens during a sports physical and why it’s so important for your child to have one.
Benefits of a sports physical
As beneficial and fun as sports can be, both play and training can put demands and strains on your child’s body. A sports physical helps identify potential issues before they become problems, preparing your child to stay safe and healthy during their sport. For example, a child with asthma may need a different inhaler or treatment regimen to help prevent asthma attacks.
Identifying possible issues early can also help your child avoid injuries, and it may help improve their performance, too. That’s why even if your child’s team doesn’t require a sports physical, it’s still important to get one.
What happens during a sports physical
Sports physicals include a thorough physical exam and a review of their personal and family medical histories. The exam differs from a regular annual physical because it evaluates your child’s health and wellness in relation to the sport they play and the demands that sport places on them.
The physical begins with measurements of your child’s weight, height, blood pressure, and blood oxygen saturation — a simple test that uses a device clipped to your child’s fingertip. These measurements are typically taken at the very start of the exam.
Next, your doctor reviews your child’s medical history, taking note of:
- Prior hospitalizations
- Previous serious illnesses or injuries
- Medications your child uses
- Allergies or history of asthma
- Unusual symptoms, like dizziness or fainting
In general, the doctor looks for any issue that could interfere with your child’s ability to play a sport or for issues that need to be monitored during participation.
Once the medical history review is complete, your provider moves on to the physical part of the exam and:
- Listens to your child’s heart and lungs
- Checks their vision
- Looks into their nose and throat
- Palpates their abdomen
- Checks their joint health
- Evaluates strength, flexibility, balance, and reflexes
If required by the school, sports club, or team, the doctor also fills out any sports physical paperwork needed for your child to be able to participate. This is also a great time to talk to the provider about tips or guidance to help your child get the most from their sport.
That includes information about healthy eating, getting enough rest, and balancing sports and school. Your physician can also provide tips on avoiding injuries, proper training and warm-ups, and sports-specific risks to watch out for.
If your doctor identifies an issue that needs additional evaluation, your doctor may recommend seeing a specialist or prescribe lab tests or other treatments.
Help your child play safe
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your child and set them up for a healthy, happy adulthood. A sports physical is a great way to make sure they get the most from the activities they love and avoid serious medical issues, too.
To schedule your child’s sports physical at Nevada Pediatric Specialists — at either location, in Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada — call the office, or book an appointment online today.