While summer is in full swing, we know it’s a little hard to start thinking about the impending school year. But, truth be told, fall is just around the corner, and with it, a fresh sports season will commence in schools everywhere. Cross country, soccer, football, volleyball, field hockey, and more will, in most cases, start their tryouts and initial practices as summer winds down in the coming weeks. All this is to say; it’s time to prep student-athletes for their periodic sports physical to ensure that their physical health is up to snuff and that they’ll be able to perform their very best on the field of play.

What’s a Sports Physical, and How Does it Differ from a Typical Annual Physical?

It’s a good question. And to start, let’s make it clear that one does not replace the other. Both have different modes of assessment. At their core, a sports physical is a pre-participation physical exam (PPE) that students are (often) required to receive as a means of determining whether or not they should be seeking athletic involvement at all.

While, on the surface, participating in sports is deemed an important, healthy mode of getting exercise, it’s important to know how your body might react to physical exertion and whether or not you’re healthy enough to give it your all while you’re out there amongst your peers. A sports physical is a means of uncovering potential disease or injury that can lead to further health issues as a result of participating in physical activity.

The Core Components of a Sports Physical

As we just mentioned, sports physicals are conducted to screen for any potential undiagnosed medical conditions that could make sports participation unsafe. Sports physicals screen for chronic or acute musculoskeletal injuries or underlying medical conditions such as heart conditions that need further workup or rehab prior to sports participation to ensure the student-athlete is even healthy enough to compete without doing further detriment to their wellbeing. There can also be a tool to help identify and intervene in chronic conditions such as:

  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Mental health issues
  • Eating disorders
  • And more

The general components of Access Sports Medicine’s sports physicals include:

  • Personal and family medical history questionnaire
  • Blood pressure and pulse measurement
  • Vision screening
  • Physical exam

What Makes Sports Physicals So Important?

We’ve outlined the basic gist of it above. A sports physical gets an athlete primed for athletic involvement and provides students and parents alike with the intel they may need to make more informed choices about the athlete’s involvement. A sports physical might uncover information that lends itself to your physician recommending different stretches, routines, and advice for optimal performance and to keep your general health top of mind. If the athlete is participating in contact-driven sports, there may be a recommendation for more periodic visits to ensure potential head injuries aren’t taking a toll on the athlete’s wellbeing. It’s important to assess minor injuries or worries and things like allergies to create a plan that allows the athlete to be their best without compromising other parts of their life.

A sports physical provides peace of mind for all parties involved and sets the stage for a successful season. Schedule your school sports physical today and get ready for the impending fall sports season!

Good news! On Monday, June 25, from 5-7 p.m., Access Sports Medicine will host a sports physical exam clinic at our Exeter location*. No appointment is necessary, and all students are welcome. Services rendered will be free! But we will be accepting $5 donations (or any amount), which will be donated back to school programs in the Access network. For more information, click here.

*You can schedule a school sports physical appointment at any time at any one of our locations, so if you can’t make this event, don’t let it deter you from getting your sports physical through Access. Our compassionate team of doctors and therapists is here to keep you at the top of your game!