What Happens at a Sports Physical For a Teenage Girl?

Reviewed on 6/30/2021

A sports physical exam is also called preparticipation physical examination (PPE) or sports physical. At a sports physical for a teenage girl, the doctor will take a detailed medical history and perform a medical exam to clear your daughter to participate in sports.
A sports physical exam is also called preparticipation physical examination (PPE) or sports physical. At a sports physical for a teenage girl, the doctor will take a detailed medical history and perform a medical exam to clear your daughter to participate in sports.

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

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.

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References
Medline Plus: "Sports Physical." https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000673.htm

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