Is your child on a school sports team? Then you already know that competitive sports are a great way for your child to stay in shape, make new friends and learn the value of teamwork.
But do you know why it's important for your child to get a sports physical, ideally about four to six weeks before the season starts? That's true even if your child's school doesn't require one.
Off to a safe start
This physical is a chance for a doctor to make sure it's safe for your child to begin a new sports season or sport.
“Sports physicals can improve health, prevent injury and identify serious conditions that may place an athlete at risk,” says David Buck, MD, who specializes in sports medicine at Kettering Health Network.
The doctor will look for any health problems that could possibly be a danger during a game or practice. He or she might find something that can be treated or managed, so your child doesn't have to sit on the sidelines.
“During the sports physical, providers are looking closely at heart, lung, nervous system and musculoskeletal conditions that could adversely affect the athlete’s performance or increase their risk of serious injuries,” Dr. Buck explains.
The doctor can also:
According to Dr. Buck, it’s important to see a physician proactively so there is adequate time to provide additional evaluation, testing, treatment, rehabilitation and referrals to specialists. Injury prevention is another key factor in seeing a doctor before the child is experiencing any issues.
“If an athlete waits until the last minute, their level of participation may be restricted until all concerning issues can be addressed,” Dr. Buck advises.
But as valuable as these physicals are, they shouldn't replace your child's yearly well-child visit. A one-on-one doctor visit allows for a more thorough checkup.
“Some of the specific health history information, as well as the focused physical exam, covered in the yearly sports physical may not be covered in the yearly child well visit,” says Dr. Buck. “On the other hand, the yearly physical looks at overall growth and development, as well as provides an opportunity to discuss recommended age-appropriate vaccines.”
The well visit also allows the doctor to address any health-related concerns you or your child might have.
Call 1-855-870-9749 to schedule your child’s sports physical with a Kettering Physician Network pediatrician.