FAQs About Sports Physicals

Dr. Caleb Michell, DC has been a very active person his whole life, which includes being involved in various competitive sports and weightlifting. Before becoming a chiropractor, Dr. Mitchell’s passion for health and fitness led him to become a professional bodybuilder. Dr. Mitchell is in the process of becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and combines his passion for weightlifting and nutrition with his professional knowledge of the human musculoskeletal system.

So who better on our team at Northern Nevada Chiropractic to answer the FAQS about sports physicals?

Q: So, Dr. Mitchel, who should get a sports physical?

A: “It is recommended that youth athletes get sports physicals starting in 7th grade, but anyone (youth or adult) looking to start playing a new sport qualifies for a sports physical. All high school students are required to have one at least before their freshman and junior years.”

Q: Why does someone need a sports physical?

A: “It is important to get a sports physical to rule out possible medical conditions, typically involving the heart, that may pose a risk for certain individuals under the physical stressors of playing sports.”

Q: Why should I get my kid a sports physical?

A: “Sports physicals will ensure that your child does not pose a serious risk to themselves by participating in highly strenuous activities. It also screens for other possible anatomical and physiological dysfunctions so they can be addressed before they become a chronic issue or injury.”

Q: When should I schedule my child’s or my sports physical?

A: “You should schedule your sports physical about six weeks before your sports season starts so any issues can be identified or you can be cleared for all activity.”

Q: What are the benefits of a sports physical?

A: “Sports physicals use a thorough previous medical and family history questionnaire, along with a physical examination of multiple body systems to assess potential risks of highly strenuous activities. The results of these tests and history intake allow us to make proactive plans for any high risk conditions and to anticipate modifications that may need to be made in play or training to accommodate any shortcomings.”

Q: Are there sports that require a physical before you can play?

A: “All students participating in sports at the high school level are required to receive a sports physical every other year, typically at the beginning of grades 9 and 11.”

Q: What should I expect at a sports physical?

A: “We will take a complete medical history review of the student (NIAA Preparticipation History Form) and a complete physical examination including: HEENT (head, eyes, ears, nose, throat), as well as skin, lymph nodes, abdomen, lungs, genitalia (males only), a cardiovascular exam, and a full musculoskeletal exam.”

Q: How long does the appointment take?

A: “The whole appointment takes less than 30 minutes.”

Q: Are there any follow-up appointments needed? If so, what do those look like?

A: “No follow up appointments are necessary. If abnormal findings are present when conducting the physical exam, a referral to a licensed specialist in the appropriate field may be necessary before eligibility can be determined.”

Q: How often should an athlete have a sports physical?

A: “Student athletes should get a sports physical every year starting in 7th grade, but it is usually required by school sports teams that they have them at least leading up to their freshman and junior years.”

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