Playing a sport is a fantastic opportunity for your child to get exercise in a fun way, make friends, and build community. If your child is an athlete or considering getting involved in a sport, you might be wondering what you need to do to ensure they’re ready to play.
When your child is an athlete or starting a new sport, Rainilda Valencia, MD, the board-certified pediatrician at Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California, strongly recommends they get a sports physical before starting a new sport and every year they continue to play thereafter.
Here’s what you need to know about sports physicals, and why they’re so important for active children.
Understanding a sports physical
Sports physicals are pediatric visits tailored to children who are actively playing a sport or about to start a new sport or season. During a sports physical, Dr. Valencia, Micaela Marin-Tucker, PA-C, and Megan Reynolds, C-PNP, specifically check your child or teenager’s physical readiness to play their desired sport.
Like a well child exam, a sports physical involves checking your child’s medical history and overall health. In addition, our team assesses your child’s ability to play their sport.
This involves checking areas of overall fitness, strength, and flexibility that are important for your child’s sport. Our team offers you and your child various healthy lifestyle and training tips to optimize performance at their sport and help them to prevent injury or other problems.
The sports physical is also an opportunity for you and your child to share any questions or concerns you have about playing sports safely. Our providers fill out any required paperwork from your child’s team to authorize their participation and advise if any modifications are necessary to enable your child to safely participate in sports.
The importance of a sports physical for child and teen athletes
There are a number of reasons Dr. Valencia and our team recommend your child get annual sports participation exams, even if they appear healthy or have played the sport in the past.
They’re often mandatory
The majority of schools teams, sporting organizations, and centers require an annual sports physical to ensure your child is physically able to safely participate in sports. Without this exam, your child won’t be able to play.
Dr. Valencia strongly recommends your child get a sports physical even if it’s not a requirement to play on your child’s team.
They help your child make healthy choices
Our team ensures your child is optimally ready to make lifestyle choices that support their health while playing their sport. For example, we help your child learn a stretching, warm-up, and cool down routine that minimizes risk of injury.
With teenagers or older children, our team also discusses making smart choices like avoiding performance enhancing drugs or alcohol, and eating and exercising healthfully while playing sports.
They help improve your child’s athletic performance
Our team is experienced in optimizing performance in a wide range of sports and can help your child achieve their best results. At their sports physical, we can share sensible training tips to help your child become stronger, faster, and more flexible.
Modifications are made whenever possible to ensure your child can play
If your child has any medical conditions that make participating in sports more difficult, our team does everything possible to create a treatment plan that enables them to safely play. This could be as simple as making a change to your child’s medications.
When your child isn’t medically able to play a certain sport, our team recommends other sports or physical activities they can safely play.
Get your child ready to play sports today with a sports physical. Call us to schedule your child’s appointment at Valencia Pediatrics today.