Summer vacation has just started, but soon enough the annual mad dash to get those pre-participation sports physicals will begin. The state of WI requires that all students participating in organized sports have a physical examination by a qualified provider every two years to make sure they are healthy enough to participate in sports. These can be done as early as April first.
Keep in mind that the earlier the the exam is performed, the more time your doctor may have to investigate any problems that may be found. It is rare to find a condition such as a congenital heart disease or arrythmia that would completely disqualify an athlete. The pre-participation physical more often discloses issues that require follow up such as physical therapy, nutritional counseling, or referral for previous undiagnosed hypertension. It gives the opportunity for prevention of injury with effective conditioning programs. And it gives the opportunity to get certain conditions, such as asthma, better controlled before sports season begins. In addition, the sports physical is an opportunity for adolescents to develop a relationship with their physician who can also address issues not directly related to sports such as “high risk” behaviors (e.g. drug and alcohol use, use of sports enhancing substances, unsafe sexual practice).
Medical histoy is one of the most important parts of the sports physical and family history is a very good indicator of any potential conditions your child may be at risk for. Medical history questions are on the WIAA form that you can bring home. Please take the time to obtain your family’s medical history and answer the questions as well as you can.
Make a list of the following items:
- Chronic medical problems such as asthma, diabetes, seizures
- Previous hospitalizations and surgeries
- Past orthopedic problems/injuries/fractures
- Current medications
- Family history of any heart disorder (especially family members under 50) or any unexplained sudden death in the family history of concussions or head injuries (even if no one called it a concussion)
- Whether you’ve ever passed out, felt dizzy, had chest pain or significant trouble breathing during exercise/sports
Have fun, enjoy your summer. Don’t forget to schedule your sports physicals early!