Staying physically active is important for everyone. Starting early is always good as far as physical activity is concerned. Children and teens who stay active have a lower risk for health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, even later in life. Physical health also fosters healthy emotional and intellectual development. Preschool-aged children (ages three to five years old) must stay active throughout the day. School-aged children and adolescents (ages 6 to 17 years) need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Engaging in sports is a great way for your teenage girl’s all-around development and health. However, before she engages in sports, it is advisable to get a sports physical.
What is a sports physical?
A sports physical exam is also called preparticipation physical examination (PPE) or sports physical. This helps determine whether it is safe for a person to participate in a particular sport. Sports physical exam is mandatory in many states before a child or teen can participate in a new sport or start a new competitive season. Even in places where the exam is not required, doctors recommend getting a sports physical. A sports physical may be done by your doctor or at the school under a medical professional’s guidance. A sports physical exam performed by your doctor may be better because they know you and your health conditions better.
What happens during a teenage girl’s sports physical?
A sports physical helps assess whether your teenage girl can safely pursue the sport of her choice. The exam has two main components: medical history and physical examination. There may be slight variations in the way different providers perform a sports physical. Generally, during a teenage girl’s sports physical exam, the doctor
Takes a detailed medical history. This includes asking questions, such as
- Whether there is a history of any illnesses including diabetes, epilepsy, skin conditions, allergies or asthma.
- Whether she has any injuries, including fractures, sprains or head injuries.
- Whether there are any serious illnesses in the family members, such as deaths or serious health conditions related to sports or exercise.
- Whether she is on any medications or supplements.
- Menstrual history, such as any history of heavy bleeding or severe pain during periods.
- Whether there is a history of prior hospitalization or surgery.
- Any issues related to physical activity, such as dizziness, breathing trouble, chest pain or passing out during physical activities.
- Dietary history, such as following any fad diets, any appetite issues or concerns.
- Any history of significant weight gain or loss.
- If your daughter uses contact lenses, dental braces, orthotics or has piercings.
You and your daughter answer these questions to the best of your abilities.
Performs a medical examination. During the physical examination, the doctor will assess whether your daughter is fit enough to play the sport. It includes
- Recording her height and weight.
- Measuring the vitals, particularly the blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing rate and temperature.
- Vision test, including the test for color vision.
- Checking her heart, lungs, abdomen, throat, ears and nose.
- Examining her skin for any allergies or infections.
- Checking her posture, joints, flexibility and strength.
Why is a sports physical important?
A sports physical is necessary to ensure your daughter’s safety while pursuing a sport. If there is any health condition that may sabotage your teenage girl’s safety while playing a sport, your doctor may refer her to a specialist or recommend ways to deal with the health issue. For example, health conditions, such as epilepsy or asthma, may be exacerbated during certain physical activity. Having a prior checkup will help the doctor adjust the treatment and provide you with the necessary information if the acts up while your daughter is playing. If there is a history of injury, the doctor may recommend ways to recover from it before you begin the activities.
A sports physical must not be viewed as a hurdle between your child and the sport she wishes to play. It is rather the smartest way to ensure her health and safety while performing well in sports.