Millions of high school students play at least one sport, and these athletics are a great way for kids to stay physically active, meet new friends and develop skills that they’ll use the rest of their life. Before they can join one of these teams, many schools and athletic programs require that the child undergoes a sports physical. These sports physicals are slightly different than a standard physical, and they help to ensure that your child is ready for the rigors of athletic competition. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at what you can expect during one of these sports physicals.
Is A Sports Physical The Same As A Normal Physical?
Some programs require that you get a specific sports physical, while others allow a standard physical assessment. However, if you really want to ensure that your child is physically ready to take on an athletic challenge, consider scheduling a sports physical.
The biggest difference between a standard physical and a sports physical is that a sports physical dives deeper into assessing a person’s fitness level and potential injury risk. Your standard physical will look at certain health factors like your height, weight, blood pressure and heart rate, and while these factors will be measured during a sports physical, the latter will be more specific to the upcoming athletic activity. For example, it’s not uncommon for a sports physical to assess the child’s:
- Fitness level
- Sport-specific injury risk
- Vaccination review
- Cardiovascular health review
- A review of current of past physical injuries
- Nutrient/Diet assessment
Assuming all of these factors look good, your physician will give you clearance to participate in a specific sport or in athletics for a specific period of time, as many sports physicals are good for one year. These sports physicals also act as a great time for a developing athlete to ask specific questions to their provider. If you have questions about preventing a previous injury from causing problems this season, or you want to learn how your diet can fuel your athletic performance, ask these questions during your sports physical.
Don’t be surprised if your primary care physician ends up referring you to physical therapy to help with these types of questions. While they may be able to provide some general advice, you’re not going to be able to see your primary care provider a couple of times a week to build on these recommendations and goals. You can, however, develop a schedule of your choosing with a physical therapist and work on some sport-specific exercises or movements.
As we’ve said on the blog in the past, a physical therapist can help take your athletic game to the next level, so once you’ve been cleared for athletic activity, sync up with a physical therapist and learn how to become a better athlete and teammate this season. For more information, or for help with a different physical issue, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.