What is a School Sports Physical?
A sports physical exam is sometimes called a pre-participation physical examination (PPE). The test assures the safety of children playing in organized sports. Most US states require physicals as a prerequisite for children and teens. Doctors also recommend sports physicals before a new season or taking on a new sport.
There are two main parts. The first involves a series of simple questions that ask about the child’s medical history. This is filled out by the parent. The questionnaire covers family illnesses, past illnesses, and previous injuries. A doctor may also need to find out about current medication and supplements. More importantly, the doctor will need to know about episodes of asthma, epilepsy, passing out, feeling dizzy, or breathing trouble during exercise. After the questions, the doctor moves on to the physical part of the exam. Here, the doctor starts with recording height and weight, takes note of blood pressure and heart rates. A simple test measures the child’s vision. Next, the primary and some sensory organs are evaluated, including the lungs, ears, nose, and throat. Finally, the doctor checks joints, overall strength, flexibility, and posture to complete the exam.
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