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A Parent's Guide: What To Expect At A Child's First Sports Physical

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If your child would like to participate in sports this year, there's a good chance that his or her school will first require medical clearance. Typically, this is done in the form of a physical examination. During a physical, a doctor will assess your child and make sure he or she is healthy enough to play sports. From there, you can present the documentation to your child's school and he or she will then be eligible to play sports during that school year. Seems simple enough, but parents should understand what to expect from a child's first sports physical.

Questions About Medical History

Once you arrive at your child's doctor or pediatrician's office, you'll check in at the front desk and will likely be asked to fill out some forms. If you have medical insurance, this may include an insurance form in addition to a questionnaire about your child's medical history and your family history. Some examples of questions you can expect to be asked include:

  • is there any history of heart disease in your family?
  • does anybody in your family have a history of seizures?
  • does your child experience shortness of breath or chest pains during exercise?

These questions will help your child's doctor get an idea of possible athletic or exercise limitations.

Physical Assessment

Once you've submitted the paperwork, you'll be called back into an exam room with your child. This is where the actual physical examination begins. The doctor will probably start by checking your child's height, weight, blood pressure, and breathing. From there, he or she will conduct a series of tests on your child's reflexes, development, and range of motion. Some examples of ways in which these factors may be tested include having your child bend over and touch his or her toes, balance on one foot, or walk like a duck.

Note from the Doctor

Once the exam is over with, your child's doctor will provide you with a form that you can present to your child's school. If the exam went well, the form will clear your child for physical activity. If further medical testing is needed or if there are limitations on your child's recommended physical activity, this will also be indicated on the form. 

Now that you know what to expect from your child's first physical, you can better prepare for it and also explain the upcoming process to your child. Entira Family Clinics is a clinic in your area you can contact for further questions.