St. Mary’s Physician Associates family physician, Christopher Hutchinson, DO, discusses the importance of sports physicals.
Why is it important for physicals to be done before participating in certain sports?
Sports physicals are important for athletes to be checked for underlying medical conditions, which may put them at higher risk of injury or death from participation in sports.
What types of health concerns do physicians look for when conducting a physical?
We look at overall well-being with a focus on cardiovascular (heart), pulmonary (lung) and musculoskeletal (muscle and bone) health.
Does a sports physical count as an annual exam?
A sports physical is a good checkup of overall physical health. However, it does not and should not replace a yearly well-child check, which is a more in-depth evaluation and broad overlook of physical, mental and emotional health.
What are the pros or cons of seeing your primary care physician (PCP) versus participating in a sport physical clinic?
I recommend seeing your PCP for all of your preventive medical care, including sports physicals. While sports physical clinics are convenient, if you fail the physical you will be told to follow up with your PCP for further evaluation.
Often, this can be avoided when seeing your PCP, as they are more familiar with your overall health, past personal and family history, and potential underlying medical conditions, which may or may not prevent you from sports participation.
In general, seeing your PCP for basic healthcare needs will save you money and time in the long-run, in terms of potential repeat testing and treatments that providers unfamiliar with you may recommend.
What signs should parents should look for while their children are participating in physical activities?
Signs that may signal there is a problem may include dizziness, chest pain, passing out, difficulty breathing or headaches with exercise. Being sure to stay well-hydrated and eating a well-balanced meal is important for overall health.
Parents should also be aware of the potential injuries associated with the sport their child is playing and what can be done to prevent them. These often consist of appropriate and adequate stretching, warm-up and cool-down, as well as the correct equipment for the sport.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hutchinson, call 580-249-3782 or book online at stmarysphysicianassociates.com
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