Prepare Your Athlete for Fall Sports

With August just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of fall sports. Sports physicals, or pre-participation evaluations, help determine whether it's safe for your son or daughter to participate in a sports program. Some programs and schools require youngsters and teens to have a sports physical before they start a new sport or begin a new competitive season.

For athletes and parents, a sports physical gives the green light that kids can safely compete and train. For coaches, sports physicals provide information on potential injuries or illnesses that may preclude their athletes from competing.

A sports physical is not a replacement for a child’s annual well exam, but instead identifies any conditions that might affect an athlete’s ability to play. During a preparticipation evaluation, a provider will:

  • Evaluate the athlete’s general health
  • Assess the athlete’s current fitness level
  • Examine any existing injuries
  • Identify any condition that might increase the athlete’s risk of injury
  • Assess the athlete’s level of physical maturity

During the exam, the provider reviews the athlete’s immunization record and makes recommendations based on the child’s age. Providers may also discuss nutrition and hydration and offer suggestions on proper sports equipment such as footwear and headwear.

If your athlete needs a sports physical, call your primary care physician to make an appointment. If you need a last-minute sports physical, Meritus Health’s Urgent Care offers $20 sports physicals on a walk-in basis. Please remember to bring school or club forms and your child’s immunization record.