Why Is A Sports Physical Important?

If your child wants to participate in team sports at school — or maybe even through a recreational league — they will generally need to have a sports physical beforehand. You'll need to make an appointment with your doctor, bring them into the office, and wait through this physical. That might sound unnecessary and annoying at first, but there are a few reasons why sports physicals are really important.

To check heart and lung function

Regardless of which sport your child will be participating in, your child's heart and lungs will have to work pretty hard. At a sports physical, the doctor will make sure their heart and lungs are healthy enough to sustain this increased stress. This is especially important if your child has ever been diagnosed with something like asthma in the past. The doctor will see how well the condition is being managed and perhaps make some recommendations for changing medications or making other lifestyle changes to make the condition easier to manage as an athlete, specifically.

To check for any abnormal muscle, tendon, or ligament issues

The doctor will also check your child's reflexes, get a basic understanding of their strength, and check to ensure all ligaments and tendons are healthy and functional. They may base this assessment on the specific sport your child is interested in. For instance, for baseball players, they will probably check that the shoulders are mobile and strong. The doctor may recommend some strengthening exercises or that your child avoid certain maneuvers based on their individual muscle strength or weakness.

To assess the child's weight

The doctor will also weigh your child at the sports physical exam. This is not only to make sure they are a healthy weight but also to establish a baseline. At later appointments, they will check to see whether your child's weight has changed. This can help ensure any eating disorders — which are unfortunately common in some sport — are caught.

To give the child advice

Finally, at a sports physical, the doctor will probably give your child some advice that will help them, in a health sense, as an athlete. For example, they might tell your child to make sure they eat their fruits and veggies, and to always stretch before they work out. Kids tend to take this advice more seriously if it comes from a doctor.

Sports physicals are not a waste of time. They're quite important for any child who wants to play sports, which is why they are required.

To learn more, reach out to a local sport physical service.