Bristol Health Medical Group
Even though we are in the middle of summer, now is the time to start thinking about those required physicals for the fall and even the winter sports seasons.
A sports physical is an annual requirement for any student athlete in Connecticut. The exam helps determine whether it’s safe for an athlete to participate in a school sport, and can be conducted by any primary/urgent care or sports medicine provider. Getting a sports physical is important and can help determine and assess any health problems that might interfere with playing a sport. For example, a football player or cross-country runner who experiences frequent asthma attacks may be able to receive a prescription for an inhaler, which will make it easier to breathe when running.
There are two major components to a sports physical: the medical history and the physical examination. The medical history portion of the exam inquires about the athlete’s medical conditions, previous hospitalizations, allergies and any past injuries. To avoid delays in the completion of the physical, it is ideal to bring your vaccination records to the exam. A review of patterns of illnesses in an athlete’s family is a good indicator for potential conditions.
The physical portion of the exam starts with recording the patient’s height and weight, checking blood pressure and pulse, and testing their vision. After checking the vitals and vision, there is a head to toe examination, paying close attention to the heart, lungs, and the musculoskeletal system.
In addition to detecting any health conditions, the medical provider may recommend specific exercises such as stretching and strengthening activities that can help prevent injuries. Following the medical provider’s advice can help boost any athlete’s performance.
Having a sports physical once a year is usually adequate. If an athlete is recovering from a major injury-such as a broken wrist or knee injury-he or she should be examined and medically cleared before participating in sports again.
The sports physical should take place about two to six weeks before the particular sports season starts. Putting off a sports physical can delay your participation in sports which will result in an unhappy athlete, parent, and coach.
A sports physical cannot replace a standard yearly physical with your primary care provider-there are differences between the two. The sports physical focuses on a patient’s well-being as it relates to playing a sport and is more limited than a regular physical. During a regular physical, the doctor will address a patient’s overall well-being and may ask questions unrelated to sports.
We can perform your student athlete’s sports physical at Med-Help Urgent Care. Med-Help is located at 539 Farmington Ave. in Bristol, 860-314-6046. Our urgent care is open 365 days a year and no appointment is ever needed.
Jaret Williams, PA-C, is a member of the medical staff of the Bristol Health Medical Group. He is a physician assistant with Med-Help Urgent Care which is located at 539 Farmington Avenue in Bristol. Williams is a certified physician assistant through the National Commission of the Certification of Physician Assistants.