It's time to schedule children's sports physicals
Do you have a child who hopes to be involved in school sports next year? If so, now is the time to call and schedule their physical exams.
"As soon as a parent knows their child might want to play a sport, make an appointment and tell the doctor's office this is not just an annual exam but a sports physical," says MetroHealth pediatrician Susan K. Santos, MD. "In the best scenario, the sports physical will take place four to six weeks before any team training begins so that you have time to address any problems that come up during the exam."
It is important for parents to bring any paperwork to the exam that needs to be done. Parents and children should go through and complete any screening questions that are present on the sports physical paperwork before they come for the appointment.
Dr. Santos thinks it's best to have sports physicals done by a child's primary physician, because that doctor is more aware of the patient's and family history.
How does a sports exam differ from a routine physical? Dr. Santos says that during a sports physical, "A complete muscular skeletal exam should be done. This is very important, and it should be very detailed."
The doctor should also focus on:
- Possible risk of cardiac disease, particularly if there is a family history of sudden cardiac death and/or arrythmias, or if the child has experienced chest pain, dizziness or shortness of breath during exercise
- Recent sprains or fractures
- History of seizures, especially if the child wants to participate in swimming or diving
- History of concussions
Contact the MetroHealth Department of Pediatrics to schedule a sports physical: 216-778-2222
Kids and Sports: Fast Facts
From Stop Sports Injury campaign, launched by a coalition of doctors' groups and professional athletes:
- Nearly half of all sports injuries suffered by middle and high school age children are due to overuse and many of those injuries could have been prevented.
- The number one reason for injuries is specialization, kids being forced to chose one sport and to play it year-round.
- Sports with high risk of overuse injuries for kids include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, dancing, football, gymnastics, running, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.