Why all middle-school through college kids benefit from a sports physical during the well-child visit:

The answer is simple: all kids are athletes: the football player, the high school performer in the musical, and the high school student who skateboards in your neighborhood. You don’t have to be an athlete to play organized sports. Many children engage in physically demanding activities such as skiing, jogging, climbing, and hiking. Other children are not physically active. All these children should receive sports physiotherapy from their pediatrician, also known as the general practitioner.

Why see the pediatrician for a sports physical:

Consulting with the pediatrician about your child’s regular visits and recreational activities helps keep your child’s medical records and medical history up to date. Pediatricians are also trained to recognize and treat common medical and orthopedic joint problems in children and adolescents who play sports. And they can make sure your child is up to date on vaccines and discuss any concerns in a private setting. If your child isn’t as active as they should be, exercise will only benefit them.

What are some of the most important things examined in sports physicals?

  • Heart health. Sudden cardiac deaths in athletes are rare, but they impact communities and concern parents and pediatricians. A sports physical exam should ask the athlete a list of questions about any symptoms that may indicate heart problems. The athlete should also report any previous heart tests or history of hypertension. You should also ask about a family history of heart disease or heart disease. Most athletes are acquitted without restrictions. In the end, most red flag signaling conditions are still ruled out, but it may be important to get a cardiologist’s opinion.
  • Mental health. Many children and adolescents have emotional health problems and athletes are not exempt. Indeed, the pressures seen in sports and the performing arts can lead to unique mental needs: depression, anxiety and perfectionism, lack of energy and self-care. Healthcare professionals are now asking about these sensitive and important issues in private and secure environments to receive and recommend treatments.
  • Unique concerns of female athletes. Physical sports can identify specific problems that may exist in female athletes and physicians. These concerns, which are triads for female athletes, include menstrual health, oral health, and nutritional/calorie intake. Women are at increased risk for certain bone and joint injuries, including injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. Certain questions and diagnostic tests can lead to treatment and prevention programs that can help keep athletes safe.
  • Unique concerns of disabled athletes. Children with special needs deserve the chance to compete and participate in sports like other children. This includes children and adolescents with physical disabilities such as total loss of vision, loss of use of arms or legs, or problems with muscle control. Careful practice will help you choose the most appropriate activities and reduce the chance of training problems.
  • Concussions and head injuries. Any athlete with a known or suspected concussion should not return to training or play without being monitored by a healthcare professional. A child who has had one or more concussions in the past is at increased risk for multiple concussions. Physical therapy from your pediatrician can help provide the best treatment if your child is still having problems from a previous concussion, including headaches, body aches, drowsiness, and irritability. Your pediatrician can determine if your child needs to keep up with school and social activities.