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Sports Physicals Are Best Done by Your Pediatrician

Author: CHKD Medical Group, Dr. Christy Fontana
Published Date: Tuesday, July 02, 2019

By Dr. Christy Fontana, Premier Pediatrics

When it comes to making sure your child is ready to play sports, medical experts agree that the best person to perform a sports physical is your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider.

Many sports teams and camps require young athletes to undergo a sports physical – also called a pre-participation physical evaluation – before they’re allowed to play. While some schools organize mass sports physicals for student athletes that are typically held in a gymnasium, new guidelines from six national primary care and sports medicine organizations recommend parents take their children to their regular provider for these evaluations.

One of the chief benefits to having your child’s doctor perform the sports physical exam is that they have access to past medical records, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one of the groups making the new recommendation. If there is a health condition noted, it makes it easier for your child’s provider to manage any ongoing or chronic medical needs. Having the sports physical take place at your child’s pediatrician’s office also provides privacy to discuss any health concerns.

Ideally, your child should have a sports physical at least six weeks before they start any preseason practice. This allows time to address any issues found during the visit.

In some cases, your child may not need a sports physical if they have had a recent well-child exam.

If it’s been a while since your child’s last well visit, now is the perfect time to schedule a checkup. Your CHKD pediatrician can complete your sports physical at the same time.

In addition to a thorough review of your child’s medical history, here are a few of the important physical examinations you can expect your child’s pediatrician to complete during a screening for sports participation:

Heart health – Your child’s pediatrician will check for signs of hidden issues with the heart, such as abnormal heart rate, heart rhythm, or blood pressure.

Joint and bone health – The doctor will evaluate your child’s posture, joints, strength, and flexibility.

Mental health – Depression, anxiety, perfectionism, and stress sometimes stem from the pressures that come with playing sports. Your child’s doctor can help discern normal moods and reactions from something that may warrant further evaluation or treatment.

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 very 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. Call today!

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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.