A person gets a sports physical by a doctor to find out if it's safe to start a new sport or a new sports season. Most states require a sports physical before children and teens can play.
Sports physicals do not take the place of regular medical care or routine checkups.
The sports physical is done to:
The doctor can give advice on how to protect yourself from injury while playing a sport, and how to safely play with a medical condition or chronic illness. For example, if you have asthma, you may need a change in medicine to better control it while playing sports.
Doctors may perform sports physicals differently from one another. But they always include a conversation about your medical history and a physical exam.
You may get a form to fill out before your appointment. When you have the physical, bring with you the information the doctor will want to know about your health, your family's health, your medical problems, and what medicines you take.
The physical exam is similar to your annual check-up, but with some added things that relate to playing sports. The doctor will focus on the health of your lungs, heart, bones, and joints. Your doctor may:
Your doctor may ask questions about:
If you get a form for your medical history, fill it out and bring it with you. If not, bring this information with you:
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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