Sports physicals are examinations designed to ensure a child is healthy enough to participate in school sports or other organized sports activities. Physicals are often required by schools or other organizations prior to sports participation. Sports physicals can also be used to determine if a child needs a special accommodation in order to participate in an activity, and they can play an important role in preventing injuries by identifying and treating issues prior to participation. Athletes of all levels - even professionals - rely on sports physicals to assess muscles, joints, reflexes and other factors that can have an affect on performance, health, and enjoyment of a sport.
Sports physicals include many of the same assessments as an annual physical, including weight and height measurements, assessments of the heart and lungs, and blood pressure measurements. In addition, they usually include assessments of the muscles, joints, and reflexes with a primary focus on the muscles and joints used during the specific sport or activity. Vision may also be assessed. And of course, additional assessments may be performed to meet the requirements of the school or other organization.
Annual physicals are designed to assess overall health and wellness while sports physicals focus on assessing the child in terms of the sport in which he or she will be participating, focusing on the specific demands of a particular sport.
Although in-school assessments are important, they’re not nearly as comprehensive as a sports physical conducted in a pediatrician’s office. School physicals typically include only the most basic assessments that can fall short in identifying serious underlying issues that could affect the performance and the health of the child.
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