We all know the importance of keeping teenagers healthy and active. Spending time outside is always better than watching TV. Plus, participating in activities like school sports is a great way to socialize and make friends with your child. However, as part of the team, all children must take a preliminary examination (PPE), better known as a sports physical. Physical education is required for all children who participate in sports programs, club sports, and intramural leagues, as well as children who change exercise routines.

What is involved?

Physical exams for sports consist of a thorough medical history and physical exam. The main purpose of a sports physical is to evaluate the child’s general health and fitness and assess the risk of injury and the child’s current fitness. In physical sports, your doctor can point out any conditions that affect your physical ability or may cause problems in your daily exercise. Physical exercises are planned to determine if the child is fit and healthy enough for certain physical activities. If any injury or condition is found during the examination, the doctor will take appropriate steps to ensure that the child’s condition is adequately taken care of to prevent future complications.

Also known as pre-participation physicals, sports physicals are designed to determine if a child is healthy enough to safely participate in any sport. The exam usually includes a discussion of the medical history and a physical exam. When you visit us for physical therapy, you can expect to see a licensed provider. He or she will ask about your child’s medical history, including whether he or she has been hospitalized or had major surgery, whether he or she takes any medications, and whether there is a family history of illness. Our provider will perform a brief physical exam that includes:

  • Checking vital signs
  • Measuring height and weight
  • Testing strength and flexibility
  • Examining the eyes, ears, lungs, heart, and abdomen

It should be noted, however, that a sports physical is not intended to replace a yearly physical exam.

When Should Sports Physicals be completed?

Sports physicals must be completed six weeks prior to the new game season; however, this can vary slightly, so it’s always best to talk to your child’s coach or physical education provider before making an appointment. Be sure to include your child’s health and immunization history as well.

After the sports physical, your doctor will show you all the medications your child needs to play sports, and we’ll also give you some educational materials on how to keep your child safe and happy on the field.