Matt Strand, P.A.-C: Why student athletes need sports physicals 

By Matt Strand, P.A.-C. Jun 29, 2017

 Sports equipment

Before we know it, summer will be ending and kids will be excited for the fall sports season. Before any child steps on the field or court, they need to get their dreaded sports physical.

The pre-participation physical exam has become a common part of the start of sport seasons for school-age children. I remember getting them when I was in school and participating in sports. I often wondered why we had to go through all of it; I was an athlete. Didn’t that mean I was healthy? My parents would go through the motions get me the physical, usually waiting until two days prior to the deadline. It was never a focus and never seemed that important. It was just a requirement.

Now that I am a health provider, I get similar questions from my patients.

The sports physical has one primary goal: to maximize the safe participation of athletes of all ages in their sports. It is not a comprehensive evaluation that takes the place of a child’s yearly visit with their provider, but focuses specifically on:

  • identifying medical issues that may be life threatening during sports participation.
  • identifying conditions that require treatment or a plan prior to participation.
  • identifying and rehabbing old muscle and/or skeletal injuries.
  • treating conditions that may interfere with performance.
  • removing restrictions on participation.

As providers, we should take a targeted medical history of the athlete and his or her family. There is also a targeted physical exam that is focused especially on the heart, lungs and musculoskeletal system. Our questions and exam will try to rule out hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hypertension, asthma (specifically with an exercise induced component), laxity in joints, prior concussions or head injuries, and obesity or underweight.

I will leave you with this thought: Our job, as providers and parents, is to protect children. We can do this by making sure student athletes are as ready as they can be for a safe and fun season. Please come to your appointments ready to share your history. Wear shorts, a T-shirt and tennis shoes. Jeans, three layers of shirts and boots make for a really difficult physical exam.

Get your sports physical for $40

  • Sage Primary Care, 1020 S. Conwell St., offers physicals from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for both patients and non-patients. Walk-ins welcome or schedule an appointment at (307) 265-8300.
  • Immediate Care, 3632 American Way in west Casper, offers walk-in physicals every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (307) 233-7300 with questions.

Matt Strand is a certified physician’s assistant in family medicine at Sage Primary Care, 1020 S. Conwell St., in Casper. Sage is a patient-centered medical home and is accepting patients of all ages. Sage offers same-day appointments and an on-call provider available 24/7. (In emergencies, always call 911 first.) For an appointment, call 307-265-8300.

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