Why are Sports Physicals Important?

Sports PhysicalsAfter months of being dormant during the winter, most children who participate in sports are anxious to get back in the game as soon as warm weather arrives. While increased exercise and participation in sports outweigh the risk of injury or illness, it is crucial that every child undergo a pre – participation sports physical before beginning practice with their chosen sport. In the United States, pre – participation exams (PPE) are required for student-athletes of all ages who want to participate in sports and/or sports camps.

But are sports physicals really necessary? Absolutely! A PPE provides the following prior to participation:

  • Identifies any potential life-threatening conditions, such as risk of sudden cardiac death.
  • Evaluates existing conditions that may need treatment prior to participation, or monitoring to avoid future injury.
  • Identifies any orthopedic conditions that may require physical therapy or other treatment.
  • Identifies athletes who may be at higher risk for violence, substance abuse, STDs, depression, eating disorders, anemia, asthma, hypertension, etc.
  • Reviews concussion history (if previously concussed, the PPE determines if the student-athlete is still experiencing post-concussion symptoms).

There are two portions of the physical:

  • Review of medical history: Student athletes and their parents need to come prepared to openly and honestly discuss all medical history. Knowing the complete history helps doctors identify conditions that might affect the student’s ability to participate and/or perform in their sport or activity. This is not a time to try and hide past injuries or medical conditions.
  • Physical exam: many schools perform partial physical exams, but if you would like a more complete physical exam, visit your family’s personal physician or pediatrician. He or she may refer your child to a Sports Medicine specialist if he thinks the child needs further evaluation for orthopedic concerns or if the student has had a history of concussions.

PPEs usually occur six weeks prior to the start of sports or camp. Most student-athletes are cleared for full participation following a sports physical exam, but those who require follow-up care are generally cleared from all potential complications within the six week timeframe.

For a more thorough physical exam, our team of sports medicine specialists would appreciate the opportunity to evaluate you or your loved one at one of our three clinic locations. To make an appointment, call 404-778-3350 or make an appointment.

Emory Sports Medicine Center is conducting several upcoming sports physicals in partnership with schools across metro Atlanta. Check the dates below to see if your student-athlete is eligible to participate.

  • Berkmar High School – Thursday, April 2 from 3:30 to 6p.m.
  • Johns Creek High School – Saturday, April 18 from 9a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Northview High School – Saturday, April 18 from 9a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Decatur High School – Wednesday, April 29 from 5 to 7:00 p.m.
  • West Forsyth High School –Thursday, April 30 from 4:30 to 6:30p.m.
  • Blessed TrinityHigh School – Wednesday, April 22 at 2:30 p.m.
  • Atlanta Girls’ School – Wednesday, May 6 at 2 p.m.
  • Pace Academy – Tuesday, May 19 from 12 to 3 p.m.

About Dr. Jeff Webb
Jeffrey Webb, MDJeff Webb, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Dr. Webb started practicing at Emory in 2008 after completing a Fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. He is board certified in pediatrics and sports medicine. He is a team physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, and serves as the primary care sports medicine and concussion specialist for the team. He is also a consulting team physician for several Atlanta area high schools, Emory University, Oglethorpe University, and many other club sports.

Dr. Webb sees patients of all ages and abilities with musculoskeletal problems, but specializes in the care of pediatric and adolescent patients. He works hard to get players “back in the game” safely and as quickly as possible. He is currently active in the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Pediatrics professional societies and has given multiple lectures at national conferences as well as contributed to sports medicine text books.

Related Resources

Emory Sports Medicine Center
Preventing & Recognizing Symptoms of Dehydration Among Student Athletes
Understanding Exercise Induced Asthma
Injuries in the Young Athlete – How much is too much?

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