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What Happens During My Child's Sports Physical?

What Happens During My Child's Sports Physical?

Approximately 60 million children participate in organized sports every year. Most school or club teams require your child to get a sports physical before playing on an organized team. These physicals are different from their annual wellness checks as they focus on their health in relation to playing a specific sport.

At Penguin Pediatrics, Dr. Umesh Kodu and Dr. Andrea McKennon provide sports physicals to make sure your child is fit for play and doesn’t have any underlying conditions that could cause problems. You can’t completely protect your child from injury, but a sports physical can help you manage risk. 

If you’re wondering what goes on during a sports physical, read on.

Gathering basic medical data

The first step in a sports physical is checking your child’s vital signs, like blood pressure, weight, height, and oxygen saturation levels. One of our nurses or doctors also asks questions about any serious illnesses that run in the family. You’ll also fill the team in on any existing medical problems your child has, such as asthma, diabetes, or allergies. 

You’ll also be asked about prior hospitalizations, surgeries, and injuries. Let our staff know about any medications or supplements your child takes. If your child has symptoms like chest pain or breathing problems during exercise, this initial interview is the time to let our staff know.

Our doctors also review sex-specific questions with your child, such as information about a girl’s period or a boys testicle pain. Things such as vaping, smoking, and drug use (including steroids) are also addressed. 

Sport-specific physical exam

Dr. Kodu or Dr. McKennon takes time to assess your child’s physical health. They’ll listen to your child’s heart and lungs, examine their abdomen, evaluate their muscle tone, and check their eyes, throat, and ears. The doctor also looks at your child’s flexibility, reflexes, and balance. 

The sports physical includes some additional evaluations and questions that aren’t included in a regular wellness exam. For example, if the doctor finds muscular imbalance or limited flexibility during their exam, they may offer training tips or specific exercises to help your child avoid injury. 

Specific recommendations for your child

In most cases, your child passes their sports physical and our staff fills out any necessary forms to clear your child for play. If your child has a specific health problem that requires management, our doctors can help. For example, children that struggle with asthma may need specific medication to help them avoid asthma attacks and trouble breathing during practice and play.

Certain past injuries may keep your child from playing specific sports. If your child has a history of a concussion, our doctors may not clear them to play tackle football. However, they may still be cleared to play sports that don’t involve contact, like tennis or track.

At Penguin Pediatrics, we support an active lifestyle for your child and are thrilled to help your child become involved in sports play. Set up a sports physical at least six weeks before the season starts. Call one of our offices in Ashburn or Stone Ridge, Virginia, or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.

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