Sports physical exams, also known as pre-participation physical examinations (PPE), are an essential component of a young athlete’s preparation for participation in sports. They are designed to assess the overall health and fitness of a child and identify any potential health issues that could be exacerbated by intense physical activity.

As a parent, you may be wondering what you should bring to your child’s sports physical exam.

Preparticipation physical exams have been used for almost 40 years to prioritize the safety and well-being of young athletes. By preparing and staying informed, you can ensure that your child’s sports physical is thorough, beneficial, and helps improve their overall health and sports performance.

What Should I Bring?

Medical History

Medical history is an integral part of a sports physical exam. It’s essential to bring any medical records for your child, especially if you’re visiting a new healthcare provider. This includes a list of past illnesses, surgeries, hospitalizations, allergies, and current medications. These records provide valuable insight into your child’s overall health and help the physician identify any conditions that may need further evaluation.

Family Medical History

Certain health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, can have a genetic component. Therefore, it’s essential to provide a detailed family medical history. Make sure to include any chronic diseases or conditions that your immediate family members have been diagnosed with, especially those that could affect your child’s ability to safely participate in sports.

Immunization Records

Immunization records are another crucial information to bring to a sports physical exam. They confirm that your child is up-to-date with their vaccinations, which is often a requirement for participation in school sports. If your child has missed any vaccinations, the sports physical can be an excellent opportunity to catch up.

Vision and Dental Reports

While sports physicals generally include a basic vision test, if your child wears glasses or contacts, it’s essential to bring their most recent prescription. A dental report can also be helpful, especially if your child is involved in contact sports where oral injuries can occur.

List of Current Physical Activities

Providing a list of the sports your child is currently involved in, including camp and activities that may require a physical examination, allows the healthcare provider to gain a clear understanding of the physical demands placed on your child.

Insurance Information

Don’t forget to bring your insurance card or information to the sports physical exam. While most insurance plans cover sports physicals, it’s always a good idea to confirm the details with your insurance provider ahead of time.

Sports Physical Form

Most schools and sports leagues have specific forms that need to be filled out during the sports physical. Make sure to bring these forms with you to the exam. The healthcare provider will complete their portion of the form, confirming that your child is cleared to participate in sports.

Questions for the Healthcare Provider

Finally, come prepared with any questions or concerns you might have about your child’s participation in sports. This could range from questions about nutrition and training to concerns about specific health issues. Remember, the sports physical is not just about clearing your child for sports but also an opportunity to discuss their overall well-being.

Sports Physical – Why is it Important?

While the sports physical is primarily to ensure the safety and well-being of your child in their sports participation, it also serves as a window into their overall health. This preventive care measure is an opportunity to detect any potential health issues early and address them appropriately.

While a sports physical exam provides a snapshot of your child’s current health status, it’s important to remember that regular check-ups are still essential. These provide a more comprehensive view of your child’s health and development, and they allow for ongoing health issues to be managed effectively.

As a parent, your role is pivotal in this process. By gathering the necessary documents and health history and by communicating openly with your child’s healthcare provider, you are contributing significantly to their health, safety, and success in sports. So, come prepared, ask questions, and know that your efforts play a crucial role in your child’s athletic journey.