Back to school is full of fun moments: school supply shopping, clothing sales, first day haircuts, and the annual sports physical. The fall season can be stressful but Sound Family Medicine is here to lighten the load and help you start September right. You can call and make an appointment or hop over to one of our three conveniently located walk-in clinics to receive a physical. Our providers are your biggest fans and want to see you or your child back on the playing field in no time.
Here’s what you need to be best prepared for your sports physical:
- A list of current medications you/your athlete is taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs or herbal supplements.
- Medical and surgical history. If you/your athlete has/had any illnesses like asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy, your physician will need to know to best evaluate.
- A physical form. All schools that require a physical will ask a doctor to fill out a form in order to ensure your child is healthy and ready to play. If you forget to bring yours, don’t worry. We have extras!
We also recommend wearing comfortable clothing that would allow you to perform various movements if your doctor were to ask.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a sports physical?
It’s an exam that checks to make sure you/your child is ready to participate in sports.
Who needs a sports physical?
A child who wishes to participate in sports at a school level, beginning at 6th grade. Sports physicals are generally good for 2 years.
Why do I need a sports physical?
The state of Washington requires athletes to complete a physical to ensure that they are healthy and able to participate in the sport. As a parent, it is also beneficial to you to know of any problems like asthma or vision impairment your child may have.
When should I get my sports physical?
Washington state requires students to have an up-to-date physical before starting a new sport or sport season, but we recommend 3 to 4 weeks before your sport starts to make sure there is time in case a follow up appointment is needed.
What should I expect during a sports physical?
Expect to fill out an extensive form that covers all healthy history for your child. Your doctor will ask about any use of drugs, alcohol, performance enhancers or weight-loss supplements. During the exam, the provider will record your height and weight, take blood pressure and vision tests, check your heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat, and evaluate your joints, strength, posture and flexibility. The doctor may also ask gender specific questions, such as menstrual cycle to ensure she doesn’t have female athlete triad.
How is this different from a regular physical?
During a normal well child physical, your doctor addresses your overall well-being, but a sports physical is focused on a child’s well-being in a sports setting and their ability to play a sport.
What if there’s a problem?
If, during the exam, your doctor finds something of concern or suggests you see a specialist, this does not disqualify you from all sports forever. Sometimes it means more tests need to be done, or your doctor needs to identify a cause of your symptom before you’re given the all clear. For instance, if you have a sharp pain in your arm when you pitch at baseball, your doctor might ask you to see a specialist before he will okay you to play.
Where can I go to get a sports physical?
Sound Family Medicine has four clinics in the Puyallup and Bonney Lake area where you can call and make an appointment, but our walk-in clinics are also available with more extended hours and are open on the weekends.
- Bonney Lake walk-in clinic (open 6 days a week)
- Sunrise walk-in clinic (open week day mornings and all-day Saturday)
- Puyallup walk-in clinic (open 7 days a week)
So if you find yourself a few days into September and no sports physical in hand, don’t sweat it. Just give us a call or walk right in to see a provider and have your teen back in the pool swimmingly.