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Making Sure Your Kids Can Play- It's Sports Physicals time!

August 11, 2010
A pre-participation sports physicals exam is expected before your child can be allowed to play sports for the school year. The hope is that a thorough discussion of your child's symptoms and overall health, along with a physical exam with sports medicine doctor, will help to target children who may be at risk of health problems while playing sports.

The American Heart Association recommends a 12-point screening process:

sports medicine doctorPersonal history
1.    Chest pain/discomfort upon exertion
2.    Unexplained fainting or near-fainting
3.    Excessive and unexplained fatigue associated with exercise
4.    Heart murmur
5.    High blood pressure

Family history
6.    One or more relatives who died of heart disease (sudden/unexpected or otherwise) before age 50
7.    Close relative under age 50 with disability from heart disease
8.    Specific knowledge of certain cardiac conditions in family members: hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathy in which the heart cavity or wall becomes enlarged, long QT syndrome which affects the heart’s electrical rhythm, Marfan syndrome in which the walls of the heart’s major arteries are weakened, or clinically important arrhythmias or heart rhythms.

Physical examination
9.    Heart murmur
10.    Femoral pulses to exclude narrowing of the aorta
11.    Physical appearance of Marfan syndrome
12.    Brachial artery blood pressure (taken in a sitting position)

While this covers enough to allow your child to play sports, a visit a Lorain County sport medicine physician would allow you to also discuss other important topics, such as counseling about nutrition, avoiding drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, puberty and sex education, and being safe on the internet, as well as checking on his or her overall growth and development in comparison with existing medical records. It might seem like added trouble, but it may just help your kid to become a healthy adult. And isn’t that the goal of all parents?