How a Sports Physical Differs From a General School Physical

How a Sports Physical Differs From a General School Physical

If your child gets a general physical for school, do they need another exam to participate in sports? Yes, they do, and here’s why.

Sports physicals are designed to clear a child for specific basketball, football, or tennis activities. A general school physical is focused on the overall well-being, and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with a child’s ability to play a sport. 

To help you better understand the differences between sports physicals and school physicals, Dr. Ugonma (Ugo) Harriet Okparaocha of Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center in Bel Air, Maryland, explains all about them. 

What’s included in a sports physical

Dr. Ugo performs a vital signs check, medical history review, physical examination, and diagnostic testing. 

When you come for a sports physical, bring a complete list of all the medications and supplements your child is taking. 

We might recommend diagnostic testing such as urine tests, X-rays, and lung function tests if your child exhibits specific symptoms or suffers from a condition that may impair the function of certain organs. 

After the physical, if your child is eligible to play the sport, we fill out the paperwork and give you a copy. If your child is experiencing specific symptoms, or if we find they have an illness or an injury, we may require a follow-up exam and further testing. 

The good news is that even if your child needs an inhaler or glasses, they may be eligible to participate in sports once they get the condition under control.

General school physical 

A sports physical focuses on whether your child is eligible to play sports, but a general school physical focuses on your child’s overall health. A school physical also provides you with an excellent opportunity to ask us about immunizations. 

The school physical is straightforward. During the visit, we ask questions about the following:

Your child goes through a short, noninvasive physical examination that looks at weight, height, organ function, posture, and vision quality. 

Get your sports physical 

Whether your child is planning to hit the soccer field or basketball court, make sure they start on the right foot with a comprehensive sports physical.

Book an appointment online at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center. Call us at 410-504-6676 today to schedule.

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