Whether it’s a child or an adult, participating in sports provides some meaningful benefits to the participant. Team sports teaches people discipline, dedication, hard work, and teamwork, for example. While those are great lessons that can serve you well throughout your entire life, playing sports always comes with the risk of injury.
If you engage in a contact sport such as boxing or football, you’re at risk for head injuries. If you play tennis, you may suffer from musculoskeletal issues that are the result of you repeatedly using a given body part. Of course, strains, sprains, and fractures are just a few of the other injuries athletes are prone to suffering.
To guard against injuries, many players will have to undergo a sports physical before they’re allowed to participate in a sport. Also known as pre-participation physical examinations, sports physicals are necessary to determine if a person is healthy enough to participate in the sport they intend to play.
A healthcare provider doesn’t necessarily have to specialize in sports medicine to conduct a pre-participation physical exam. Sports physicals are commonly performed by the following healthcare providers, among others:
- Orthopedic surgeons
- Physical and occupational therapists
- General practitioners
- Physician assistants
- Nurse practitioners
When Should You Have a Sports Physical?
You should obviously have a sports physical before you start to play a sport, especially if you’ve never played the sport before. In general, it’s wise to schedule your physical with Methodist McKinney Hospital six to eight weeks before you plan to start playing a sport. By scheduling your exam that far in advance, your doctor will have time to address any concerns that are identified during your sports physical.
What Physicians Look for in an Athlete’s Checkup
Physicians look for and examine many things during an athlete’s checkup. To begin, your healthcare provider will examine your medical and family history to see if there’s anything that may limit the amount of physical activity you can handle safety. Your physician will also inquire about your daily habits, such as your alcohol intake and your use of herbal supplements.
After discussing your medical and family history as well as your daily habits, your doctor will do a few things. Your doctor will measure your height and weight, take your pulse and blood pressure, check your heart and lungs and test your neurological function, such as your reflexes.
Your physician will also test your sight and hearing and check your ears, nose and throat. It’s likely that your healthcare provider will check your flexibility and spinal alignment, perform a urine test and conduct a cholesterol screening depending on your age, too.
If you’re a male, your doctor will perform a genital exam to make sure you don’t have a hernia. Females will probably be asked about their period and whether they’ve noticed any changes in their cycle.
Your healthcare provider may perform a few other tests before the end of your exam. Blood tests, X-rays and electrocardiograms are commonly performed during sports exams.
Schedule a Sports Exam at Methodist McKinney Hospital
Methodist McKinney Hospital partners with various healthcare providers who are able to perform sports exams for athletes of all ages and skill levels. Find a healthcare provider at Methodist McKinney Hospital and schedule a sports exam today.