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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Sports Physicals But Didn’t Want to Ask
By Lauren Ayersman, D.O.

Lauren Ayersman, D.O.We’ve all heard a story in the news about a student athlete who collapsed on the playing field and suddenly lost his life. Sometimes these tragedies can be prevented if a problem is detected during a child’s sports physical. Every child who plays community baseball, softball or soccer as well as teens that play school sports should have a physical prior to the start of each season’s tryouts and practices. A physical helps to ensure that the player is healthy and can participate safely.

What to Expect During the Physical
During a sports physical, the physician pays particular attention to a family’s medical history and looks for any diseases, conditions or injuries that would make it unsafe for the child or teen to participate in a sports program. During the exam, the physician will:

  • Review the child’s medical history including prior injuries and surgeries
  • Discuss personal and family history of cardiac disease
  • Review the child’s concussion history
  • Insure immunizations are current
  • Take vital statistics including height, weight, blood pressure and pulse
  • Perform vision and hearing tests
  • Examine the throat, ears and nose
  • Listen to the heart and lungs
  • Examine the spine and joints
  • Screen for hernias in males

If the physician discovers any concerns during the exam, he or she may order tests such as blood work, EKG or X-rays as an added precaution.

I typically recommend that parents bring their children or teens in for their physicals at least a month before the season begins. Based on the exam, the child will be released to play the desired sport; restrictions such as additional protective equipment may be recommended; or follow-up testing or care may be ordered. By having the exam four weeks prior to the season, it gives the child enough time to have any additional testing so that he or she can be cleared for play.

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Lauren Ayersman, D.O. is a family practice physician. She sees patients from infants to adults Mondays and Thursdays at Martik Plaza, 6108 Brownsville Road Extension, Suite 204, Finleyville, PA 15332. 724-782-0723.

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