What is a Sports Physical?

If you (or one of your children) is getting ready to play a team or individual sport at some level, you may have to get a sports physical.

So, what is a sports physical, and what exactly is involved in one? Let’s examine that here on our guide to the sports physical.

Where Can I Get a Sports Physical?

The best place to get a sports physical? At the office of your primary care doctor. Not only will your primary care doctor be familiar with your unique medical history, but they have the unique ability and skills to determine if you have the necessary physical ability in the sport. Try to make an appointment with your primary care doctor for a sports physical as early as you can. If you know what type of sports you’re going to play – and when these sports are going to start – try to schedule this sports physical as early as possible with your primary care doctor to get it wrapped up in time for the sport to kick off. Your doctor may be in a busy period; get it on the calendar as soon as possible!

What is Involved in a Sports Physical?

The sports physical is a little different than a regular physical. For a sports physical, your primary care doctor – or the other person performing the physical – will perform an examination with the focus on determining if the person is actually fit to play sports. Many of the initial questions will resemble a typical first-time physical, however. The doctor will ask about the patient’s medical and family history, determining any chronic family conditions or past illnesses that may throw up a red flag when it comes to athletics. Along with that, the doctor will perform some of the other standard physical examinations. They will record weight and height, check blood pressure and pulse, and look at your vision. Along with that, the doctor will look at specific physical abilities – examining posture, flexibility, and strength, along with checking the heart, lungs, abdomen, and other critical elements needed for physical activity.

The doctor will also ask many questions specific to the athletic mindset. They will ask if the patient uses drugs (including steroids and weight-loss supplements) and alcohol. If the patient is a female, they may ask about menstrual period activity or prior physical effects of sports activity.

At the end of the exam, the doctor may recommend a further follow-up exam, prescribe certain treatments or things to do for protection during the athletic activity, or refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Is a Sports Physical Covered by Insurance?

It’s important to check to see whether your sports physical gets covered by insurance before you stop in to see your primary care doctor or the other outlet to get it done. A lot of insurance plans include one complete physical per year; however, rules and regulations may be different for a complete physical as opposed to a sports physical. Check in with your insurance before you schedule your sports physical!

How Long Does It Take to Get a Physical?

The actual examination shouldn’t take any more from 30-45 minutes long (and may take even less time). Different sports and states may have different requirements when it comes to requiring a sports physical – whether you need one annually or before every time you start a new sport, for example. Be sure to check in with your state or sport’s specific regulations before you schedule anything, so you don’t get surprised when the season starts!

One last tip: when you do schedule your appointment with the primary care doctor to get your sports physical done, be sure to come armed with the information necessary to get the examination done quickly! Be sure to know things like the family medical history, your medical history, any allergies or chronic illnesses, and the names of any medicines you may be taking. Having this information in mind will make the entire process go faster.

Schedule Your Sports Physical With Your Primary Care Doctor Today

Ready to schedule your sports physical (or the sports physical for your children)? Get ready to get out there on the field and dominate! Be sure to rely on your trusted primary care doctor to provide the sign-off needed to play those fun sports everyone enjoys. Schedule one as soon as possible to avoid the busy periods and long waiting times to get in to see the primary care doctor.

Schedule one today! Give us a call to get on the calendar.