Your child’s sports team or school may require a physical to be completed prior to participation in sports. This is known as a preparticipation physical examination (PPE) or “sports physical.” The exam determines whether it is safe for a child to participate in a particular sport.
Most states require that kids and teens have a physical exam before they start a new sport. Ideally, they should have the exam done six to eight weeks before the competitive season, to leave time for proper results and evaluation.
The two main parts of a sports physical exam are the medical history and the physical exam.
The medical history portion of the exam includes questions about a child’s personal and family history of illness and medical conditions. This is important information because any previous health problems can prevent a child from participating in sports.
Questions will include:
- History of illness among family members
- Childhood illnesses (asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.)
- Allergies (to food, animals, etc.)
- Past injuries, hospitalizations and surgeries
- Current medications
The second part of the sports physical includes the actual physical exam. The physical exam is almost exactly the same for males and females, but may slightly differ if the patients had gone through puberty.
The physical exam includes:
- Measuring height and weight
- Reading blood pressure and pulse rate
- Testing vision
- Checking heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
- Evaluating posture, joints, strength, and flexibility
- A urinalysis will be performed, if required by the particular organization.
Please note that a sports physical does not replace an annual wellness physical with your primary care doctor. ExpressCare does NOT perform routine childhood vaccinations. You may be asked to bring a copy of your vaccination records for clearance if your organization requires.