Beginning a Spring Sport? Here's Why Your Child Needs a Physical

Spring is an exciting time of year. With the weather warming up, it’s the perfect time for your child or teenager to get involved in spring sports. Playing a sport is an excellent way to help your child stay active and start lifelong healthy habits.

Many sporting teams and programs require your child to get a sports physical before starting a sport, and even if your child’s program doesn’t make getting a physical mandatory, Rainilda Valencia, MD, a board-certified pediatrician practicing at Valencia Pediatrics, highly recommends them. Here’s how your child will benefit from getting a sports physical and what to expect during the exam.

Why should my child get a sports physical?

A sports physical assesses your child’s health and physical readiness to play sports. Along with checking your child’s overall health, Dr. Valencia and her highly skilled team assess your child’s flexibility and strength in relation to their sport.

By getting a sports physical between six and eight weeks before the start of the season, Dr. Valencia can confirm your child’s ability to play, as well as help resolve any issues that might prevent your child from playing. She also can help your child prepare to maximize their athletic potential in any spring sport.

What’s the difference between a sports physical and a well-child visit?

Sports physicals share some common features with a well-child visit, but offer unique additional assessments customized to your child’s spring sport. In both exams, Dr. Valencia reviews your child’s health history and assesses their general health.

In a sports physical, Dr. Valencia also checks your child’s health specifically in relation to the upcoming spring sport. This includes looking at the specific types of strength and flexibility your child needs to play a particular sport. She can advise your child on injury prevention, as well as offer useful training tips.

What can I expect during my child’s sports physical?

Dr. Valencia starts a sports physical by examining your child and checking their current health and medical history. After evaluating for general health, Dr. Valencia looks at specific health items related to playing your child’s particular sport, such as joint health, posture, strength, and flexibility.

Additionally, Dr. Valencia teaches your child exercises unique to their physical needs and sport to help your child play at the highest level. These exercises maximize strength and flexibility, while also minimizing the risk of injury.

During the physical, Dr. Valencia welcomes any questions you or your child have about staying healthy while playing sports. If your teenager comes in for a sports physical, Dr. Valencia also discusses sports-related issues such as performance-enhancing drug use, healthy weight management, and other drug or alcohol use, to ensure your teen makes healthy choices while playing.

If my child doesn’t pass the sports physical, what happens next?

In many cases, Dr. Valencia can help your child resolve any issues found in the exam that might prevent participation in spring sports. For instance, she might prescribe a different medication for a child with asthma, or ask a child with severe insect allergies to carry an EpiPen® when playing sports outdoors.

When a physical condition or health issue means your child can’t play a specific sport, Dr. Valencia encourages them to participate in other, medically safe spring sports or activities.

To get your child ready to play a spring sport this year, visit Dr. Valencia and her team for a sports physical at Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California. Make your appointment today by calling our office at 442-204-0019.

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