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Pediatrician performing a physical examination on his patient.

Sports Physicals: Not Just for Athletes

By Caitlin Dorman, CPNP, Premier Pediatrics

When it comes to making sure your child is ready to play sports, medical experts agree the best person to perform a sports physical is their pediatrician or primary pediatric healthcare provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics also suggests sports physicals for all children, whether they're active or not.

Having your child’s primary healthcare provider perform sports physicals can help keep medical records, health history, and vaccinations up to date while giving you and your child privacy to discuss any health concerns.

If it’s been a while since your child’s last well visit, now is the time to schedule a checkup. Your CHKD provider can complete your sports physical at the same time. Ideally, your child should have a sports physical at least six to eight weeks before they start any preseason practice to allow time to address any issues found during the visit.

Here are a few of the examinations you can expect during a sports physical:

  • Heart health – Your child’s pediatrician or primary healthcare provider will ask questions about heart conditions in your family and check for signs of hidden issues such as abnormal heart rate, heart rhythm, or blood pressure.
  • Joint and bone health – Your child’s posture, joints, strength, and flexibility will be evaluated.
  • Mental health – All children should have regular mental health checkups with their provider to help discern normal moods and reactions from something that may warrant further evaluation or treatment. Athletes are no exception, as the pressures of sports participation can cause depression, anxiety, perfectionism, stress, and attention deficits.
  • Nutrition – Good nutrition is vital for any growing child or teen but even more important to sustaining the physical and mental energy needed for sports.

August can be a busy month in the pediatrician’s office, so don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your back-to-school well visit and sports physical.



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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.