Summer seems to be flying by—which means it’s already time to start planning ahead for fall sports and scheduling a physical for your student athletes.
“Sports physicals are an important way for your child’s health care provider to discuss and identify any health issues before they participate in a sport,” says Kathleen Abrahamson, MD, Fairview Clinics – Princeton. “We want to make sure athletes are healthy enough to participate fully and safely in their activity. Certain health conditions, such as asthma, heart conditions, arthritis and more can put athletes at risk for illness or injury.”
Many sports require a pre-participation exam, or sports physical, before students are allowed to participate. The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) requires physicals at a minimum of every three years for all athletes participating in high school-sponsored activities. And even if your organization or sport doesn't require a physical, most doctors think it's a good idea to have one before you play.
What is a sports physical?
A sports physical is similar to a regular well-child check up, with special attention to issues related to the sport. Your provider will look for anything that might cause issues during physical activity, and will also:
- Check your height, weight, blood pressure and pulse;
- Examine eyes, ears, mouth, heart, lungs, abdomen, joints, spine, posture, arms and legs;
- Review your health history. (Be sure to let your provider know of any health problems that run in your family.)
Providers also talk to students about using the right equipment, such as helmets, mouth guards and padding specific to their sport, to prevent injury.
Although it's not always part of a sports physical, a review of immunization history is also important before joining a sport to keep everyone safe from preventable infections during the season.
Free physicals in your community
Fairview Sports and Orthopedic Care and Fairview Clinics are offering MSHSL-qualified sports physicals to local student athletes this summer at no cost.
Find dates and locations or register for a free physical.
Schedule an appointment
Oftentimes, a sports physical can be done as part of a regular checkup. You'll just need to mention it when you make an appointment so your provider can address the specific issues related to your child’s sport.
It’s important to complete the health questionnaire ahead of time so you can be sure to discuss any issues that might affect your child’s ability to play safely.
Call your clinic or 855-FAIRVIEW to schedule an appointment now for your summer and fall sports.