Sports are not only an excellent way to maintain a healthy body and mind but also to expand one’s social circle and maintain one’s emotional health.  When it comes to the importance of getting spring sports physicals for your upcoming sports season, many people are in the dark. 

When Should You Get One?

For athletes, the question of whether or not it is safe for them to take part in a particular sport is best answered by a doctor during a Pre-participation Physical Examination, or PPE, as it is known in the area of sports medicine.  Sports physicals are required by local school districts for all children and adolescents participating in extracurricular sports.

The Importance of a Physical Exam for Athletes.

If you want to play sports but are worried about any health issues, a sports physical can help you find and treat them before they become serious. The physical exam aims to verify that you are in good enough health to play the sport of your choice.  Conditions including high blood pressure, eating disorders, and respiratory issues needing treatment before or during exercise can be more easily identified. Injury prevention measures, such as a nutritious diet, a lack of substance abuse, and regular stretching and strengthening exercises, can all be discussed with your doctor during this period.  A healthy, strong athlete is one who follows their doctor’s orders.

The two most important aspects of a sports physical are the patient’s medical history and physical examination.

  • Medical Background

Questions about your current and past medical conditions, those of your immediate and extended family members, and any hospitalizations, surgeries, injuries, and drugs you are now taking are typically found on a form you can take home. Give the best responses you can to the questions. It is vital that you are honest and forthright on the form, so do not try to guess or give answers you think your doctor wants.

  • Symptom Check

The doctor will check your vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, pulse rate), organs (heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat), and other physical characteristics (posture, joints, strength, flexibility) at this time. Once a year is generally sufficient for a sports physical. Get checked out after a significant injury has healed, such as a broken wrist or ankle, before you return to play.  If any concern needs to be addressed after the initial physical, there will be plenty of time before the start of the season.