Playing sports is a great way to have fun and stay fit. Anyone who has played sports knows that you have to pay some extra attention to your health. Students who play team sports are required to have a sports physical. A sports physical is a visit to the doctor to make sure you're in good enough shape to play the sport you want to play. Sports physicals aren't just for youth. Even sports superstars need to go to the doctor to make sure they are healthy and strong before they hit the field.
People may think of going to a doctor as something to do only when they are sick or maybe once a year for a checkup, but a body works hard when running fast, kicking, throwing, swimming, and tumbling. That's why a sports physical is important, especially when an athlete is just starting to swim competitively, do gymnastics, or play a team sport, such as soccer, baseball, football, or basketball.
What Happens During a Sports Physical
There are two main parts to a sports physical: medical history and the physical exam.
Medical history includes questions about illnesses and injuries someone has had, such as asthma or a broken leg. It is important to know about medical problems that run in a family or any medicines a person takes on a daily basis. For example, has anyone in your family had heart trouble? Another important question is whether you've ever passed out, felt dizzy, or felt pain in your chest while running or playing. The doctor may ask additional questions during the exam.
These are the basics of the physical exam:
- Measure your height
- Check your weight
- Take your blood pressure
- Listen to your heart and lungs
- Feel your abdomen
- Look in your ears, nose, and throat
- Check your eyesight
- Test how strong and flexible you are
This is also the time to discuss with the physician any other questions you have about your health and playing sports.