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Everything you need to know about sports physicals

It is recommended that children participate in 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. Sports are a great way to accomplish this.

Prior to participation, most high school and club teams require an athlete’s physician to complete a sports pre-participation physical form. It is important to schedule the appointment a few months before the season starts in case the doctor needs to address any potential barriers for participation.

As children mature, sports physicals often take the place or occur in conjunction with the well child exam. The sports physical exam is similar to a well child exam, but special attention is placed on the musculoskeletal system. It is important that every child be seen on a yearly basis. Prior to a sports physical, it is important to complete all of the necessary paperwork on the sports physical form. Your doctor will want review your child’s health history to see if there are previous sports-related injuries or disabilities.

A sports physical is often the only chance a doctor has to see an adolescent patient. While the focus is on clearing them for sports participation, it also provides the doctor with a chance to review other health issues that adolescents face. I advise parents and athletes to take time before the visit to make a list of health concerns. During these appointments, missed vaccines are commonly updated. The visit also gives the doctor an opportunity to reinforce prevention of both sports injuries and risky behaviors in general.

A hot topic right now is concussions in sports. Affinity has its own uniquely trained concussion team that provides care for a concussed athlete. Many of the local high school and club sports teams are utilizing an online neurocognitive test called ImPACT. This test can be helpful when deciding to clear a patient for participation after a concussion.

For more information on concussions, a great website is http://wisportsconcussion.org/.

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