Why is a pre-participation sports physical important?
A sports physical can help you find out about and deal with health problems that might interfere with your participation in a sport. Dr. Benjamin may even have some good training tips and be able to give you some ideas for avoiding injuries. For example, certain stretching or strengthening activities might be recommended to help prevent injuries. Dr. Benjamin can also identify risk factors that are linked to specific sports. Advice like this will make you a better, stronger athlete.
What is a sports physical?
A sport physical has 2 main components, the medical history and the physical examination. The medical history will include questions about:
- Serious illnesses among family members
- Illnesses that you had when you were younger or may have now, such as asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy
- Previous hospitalizations or surgeries
- Allergies (to insect bites, for example)
- Past injuries (including concussions, sprains, or bone fractures)
- Whether you’ve ever passed out, felt dizzy, had chest pain, or had trouble breathing during exercise
- Any medications that you are on (including over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and prescription medications)
The physical examination will include:
- Recording height and weight
- Taking a blood pressure and pulse (heart rate and rhythm)
- Testing your vision
- Checking your heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
- Evaluating your posture, joints, strength, and flexibility
What if there’s a problem?
What happens if you don’t get the OK and have to see a specialist? Does that mean you won’t ever be able to letter in softball or hockey? Don’t worry if your doctor asks you to have other tests or go for a follow-up exam — it could be something as simple as rechecking your blood pressure a week or two after the physical.
It’s very unlikely that you’ll be disqualified from playing sports. The ultimate goal of the sports physical is to make sure you’re safe while playing sports, not to stop you from playing. Most of the time, a specialist won’t find any reason to prevent you from playing your sport.