Sports Physicals are important first step to a successful season

Sports Physicals
Dr. Patrick Dennis
Dr. Patrick Dennis

You already know that playing sports helps to keep your kid fit, teach him or her to work as part of a team and also develop friendships. However, you might not know why it’s so important to get a sports physical at the beginning of each sports season.

These sports physical exams are also known as a pre-participation physical examinations (PPE) and are used to determine whether it’s safe for your child to participate in a certain sport. Most states actually require that kids and teens have a sports physical before they can start a new sport or begin a new competitive season, but even if a physical is not required, doctors still highly recommend getting one.

A sports physical can help you and your child discover and deal with health problems that might interfere with participation in a sport, especially identifying any life-threatening conditions that might go unseen, such as heart or respiratory issues. There are numerous medical conditions, ranging from dermatological to psychiatric, that need to be considered in fitness for sports. There are also several special circumstances to consider—including past injuries, concussions and post-concussion syndrome, eating disorders, bleeding disorders, and possibly others.

In some cases, doctors may be able to support a child who has a known health issue. For example, if your son has frequent asthma attacks but is a starting wide receiver on the football team, a doctor might be able to prescribe a different type of inhaler or adjust the dosage so that he can breathe more easily when running. A doctor may even have some good training tips and be able to offer some ideas for avoiding injuries like certain stretching or strengthening activities. A doctor can also identify risk factors that are linked to specific sports. All of this advice can be combined to make your son or daughter a better, stronger athlete.

“Another advantage of a sports physical is that it allows the doctor time to discuss important issues such as healthy eating habits, avoidance of drugs or alcohol, and the importance of wearing protective gear and helmets,” says, Dr. Patrick Dennis with LCMC Health Urgent Care. “I know parents might preach these precautions consistently, but when someone outside the family, especially a physician, weighs in on making good decisions, kids are more apt to listen.”

LCMC Health Urgent Care provides walk-in care and is open 7 days a week to treat a variety of minor illnesses and injuries. The clinic is currently offering a $20 Sports Physical until August 31 at 107 Maryland Drive. Clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit


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