You know your child and truly believe that there aren't any health issues to worry about when it comes time to head to sports practice or to play a big game. You're right that, as the parent, you do know your child best, but you should never skip the sports physical exam, usually called a participation physical exam. It's so important because it helps assess your child's current state of health, as well as identify anything that might interfere with the ability to safely endure the rigorous aerobic nature of playing sports.

It's A State Rule

In most states, it's the law that children must produce proof of a physical exam before being allowed to join a sports team. In states that don't have this law, it's still highly recommended that a pediatrician examine your child before playing any type of sports.

Safety First

A physical examination, like with Physicians Immediate Care Centers PS, before playing sports is a smart step in keeping your child safe. A pediatrician will ask about your child's previous health history, such as whether there is a history of asthma, hospitalizations, broken bones or other severe injuries. He'll also ask about allergies and medications your child takes. After recording these details, the pediatrician will weigh your child and measure height. He'll also take your child's blood pressure, test vision and listen to the lungs and heart. The exam will culminate with a check of your child's bones, joints and flexibility, which helps the pediatrician determine if your child is strong enough to participate in sports.

What Happens Next

Even if the pediatrician determines that your child has some type of health problem, chances are he can still play sports. The purpose of the exam is to ensure that it's safe for your child to do so. For example, if your child has asthma, a pediatrician will recommend the most appropriate inhaler or adjust the dosage of the asthma medication so sports participation is still possible. If your child doesn't get the approval to play sports, don't panic. Often, a repeat examination two or three weeks later will reveal that there isn't a problem and that your child can go ahead and suit up to play, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. Remember, that your child's doctor isn't being mean, but instead is providing the best care possible for your child.

It Might Boost Sports Performance

Your child's pediatrician will offer tips to prevent injury based on the specific sport your child plays, such as reducing the risk of concussions when playing football. A pediatrician might also recommend certain stretches or exercises that can help your child improve at a specific sport, increase flexibility and boost endurance.