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The 411 on Sports Physicals

Physical Test

Whether your child is hoping to play football, soccer, baseball, or another sport for their school or local organization, a medical physical will be required. As a matter of fact, 98 percent of states require a PPE, or pre-participation physical evaluation, before your child is able to participate in any sports activity.

Keep in mind that most teenagers pass the sports physicals without any issues, so your teen will most likely be approved to participate in their desired activity. 

Even though it is a common requirement, most parents are not familiar with the process of a sports physical. To understand and schedule a sports physical, use this guide and the help of your preferred medical professional.


Medical History

Providing the physical with a detailed medical history is an imperative part of the sports physical.

This history will tell the doctor if your family has a history of certain conditions that may affect your teen's ability to play sports in a healthy and safe manner. In addition, your teen's specific medical history will be used to ensure that they can handle the physical and emotional pressure that playing sports will entail.

When completing the medical history form during the sports physical, make sure to list any and all issues known in the family. Include information on family members who have had strokes, diabetes, musculoskeletal problems, and other medical issues.

A family history of heart disease is something your teen's doctor needs to know. There have been cases of teens dying due to cardiac failure while playing sports, but it is very rare.

After providing the doctor with the medical history of family members, you should provide information on your teen's actual health.

If your teen has had any serious illnesses, injuries, or surgeries in the past, the physician needs to know. If your teen has allergies, whether to food, environmental factors, or medications, notify the doctor during the sports physical.

Physical Examination

Once the physician understands the medical history of your family and your teen, a physical examination will take place.

The doctor will begin the examination by taking measurements of your teen's height and weight. This will help the physician determine if your teen's BMI, or body mass index, is within a healthy range. Obesity can lead to a variety of problems for your teen, including the following:

  • High blood pressure

  • Joint pain

  • Diabetes

  • Fatigue

  • Depression

If your teen is obese and dealing with one or more of the above issues, increasing their physical activity by playing sports can be beneficial to their health and wellness. Therefore, the physician will most likely recommend that your teen starts playing sports.

If your teen is a female who has started puberty, the doctor will ask about her menstrual cycle. These questions may include whether the cycle is irregular or if your teen experiences heavy or light blood flow. The doctor may also want to know if your teen experiences cramping or other symptoms related to their menstrual cycle.

Your teen may also be asked about their sexual activity and if they use drugs or alcohol. These are difficult questions to answer, but they are important for understanding your teen's health and emotional wellness before they can be approved to play sports.

Finally, the doctor will examine your teen's vision. If any vision issues are found, doctors will recommend prescription vision correction. Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses can improve your teen's vision, depth perception, focus, and coordination while playing sports. 

Some parents consider a sports physical a chore that must be completed. However, this physical can be a great first step in increasing your teen's physical activity and improving their health and wellness. To schedule your teen's sports physical, contact Alafaya Woods Family Medical Center today.