Importance of Sports Physicals

Safety • Aug 13, 2019

The Importance of Sports Physicals

It is that time of year again! Kids are heading back to school for a new year and another season of sports. There is always a rush for kids to get their physical forms completed in time to start practices and training. Some athletes will see their primary care physician to have these physicals completed while others will go to urgent care facilities or pharmacies for completion. Regardless, parents and athletes alike need to understand the importance of sports physicals.

Why Does Your Child Need a Physical for Sports?

Why are these pre-participation physicals (PPEs) so important?  We need to ensure that kids are in optimum condition to participate in the rigorous practices that they will face during the season. For some kids it might mean talking about medications for a chronic condition like asthma so they have a plan. For others it is simply a means to check in on how things have changed in the last year and to see if this has any bearing on participation.

3 Tips for Your Child’s PPE

Here are some tips to get the most out of your child’s PPE:

  • Try and see your primary care physician. These are the people that know your young athlete the best. They know all about their background, medications, etc., which helps them to make the most informed decision on clearance. If your child gets their sports physical done at pharmacy or urgent care, make sure they still get a well-child visit with their pediatrician or family physician.  It is still important to see the PCP on an annual basis for vaccines, height/weight/blood pressure checks, and general health discussion.
  • Fill out the history form carefully. The history section is SUPER important and where I spend a lot of my time and focus. The cardiac history in particular is so important in determining if further work-up is needed before an athlete can head out on the field. Sudden cardiac death on the field is a very scary and real thing. Careful focus on the specific questions on the history form along with a careful physical exam can determine if further evaluation with EKG or a visit to a cardiologist is needed to make sure your athlete will be safe.
  • Emphasize the importance of honesty. Many kids live and breathe sports. They get nervous about not being cleared for sports participation. It is hard to understand that decisions to not clear an athlete are not made lightly. However, additional testing or evaluation often leads to clearance in a safe manner.

The Importance of Honesty

The return of sports and school can be an exciting time for all young athletes. The PPE is an integral part of safe sports participation. History is the most important thing so be sure to help your athlete fill out this portion to improve accuracy.

The full sports physical for the state of Missouri can be found here: