Sports Physicals

Understanding Sports Physicals

Before your kids participate in any kind of sports activities, drop by Germantown Primary Care Associates (GPCA) for a sports physical, whether this is required by the school or not. It always pays to be on the safe side. In Germantown Maryland and most of the other cities and states, children and teenagers are required to submit a sports physical before they can take up a new sport or participate in a new season. The exam aims to make sure the child is healthy so he/she could safely join the activities. The physical can be accepted as Pre-participation Physical Examination (PPE). Make sure to obtain one ahead of the season so the child can immediately begin training or associated activities.

Importance of Sports Physical

The purpose of getting a sports physical is to make sure the child is safe to play and gets helpful advice on dealing with possible health conditions. The physical does not aim to stop a child from playing unless he/she has a grave medical condition. If your child is afraid to undergo a physical because some health conditions might be detected, you can explain it this way. A physical exam can determine risk factors, which could affect performance in certain sports. By finding these risk factors before the child participates in sports, some changes can be incorporated into the routine or in the medications he/she would need to take. This could help improve the child, not prevent him/her from participating in the game. As an example, to help an asthmatic child run more easily even on active sports events such as basketball and football, the doctor might adjust the dosage of the child’s medication or change the inhaler so he/she could still safely play.

What to Expect

To be able to recommend the child as fit or healthy enough to join the new game season or sports event, the doctor will perform a comprehensive medical examination, which consists of the actual physical exam and obtaining the medical history.

Physical Exam

The physician might ask questions relevant to the child’s sports event as well as any form of drug, enhancers, supplements (weight loss or dietary), medications, or prohibited items (alcohol and drugs) the child is taking. It is important to be honest with the physician so that proper steps can be taken to help the child overcome possible addiction before it is too late. Understand that these substances are also harmful to the body.

Depending on the gender and age of the child, the medical practitioner might also ask certain questions, such as those relevant to menstruation so that proper advice can be provided for the child to be able to enjoy sports despite changes in the body due to puberty.

During the actual examination, the physician:

  • Evaluates flexibility, strength, joints, and posture
  • Checks the throat, nose, ears, abdomen, lungs, and heart
  • Tests your vision
  • Takes the pulse (heart rate and rhythm) and blood pressure
  • Records weight and height
  • Medical History

A form will be provided so you can complete it with the most comprehensive answers to determine your medical history. Often, the questions on the child’s medical history does not only focus on the individual but also checks the family’s history. Do not second guess what you think the doctor wants to see in the form. For the safety of your child, make sure to provide only real answers or answer the questionnaire as best as you can, banking on what you can remember of your family’s history.

Questions on the form could include the following:

  • Medications being taken (including prescription drugs, herbal/dietary supplements, or over-the-counter medicines)
  • Previous experience of breathing troubles, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting during/after exercise
  • Previous injuries (bone fractures, sprains, concussions, etc.)
  • Allergies (insect bites, food, etc.)
  • Past surgeries or hospitalizations
  • Childhood or current ailments (epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, etc.)
  • Grave ailments in the family (maternal and paternal sides)

Clinic Schedule

The clinic caters to sports physicals from 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM on weekdays. Outside these hours, you can visit Medical Access Urgent Care right beside GPCA.

Medical Access can cater to your concerns during these hours:

Monday to Friday at 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Sports physicals are not covered by insurance plans. Please prepare for the $60 fee.