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Annual P​​hysical Exams for Student Athletes

​My teens need sports exams to participate in an athletic league. My pediatrician reco​mmends they have an annual physical. Would that also count as a sports exam?​

"A physical exam performed by their pediatrician should certainly meet requirements for sports participation with the added benefit of assessing other aspects of your teenagers' health and well-being," says Paula Schlesinger, M.D., F.A.A.P., a board-certified physician specializing in Pediatrics at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

Dr. Schlesinger notes that most schools and youth sports leagues require players to first have a sports-related exam.

“An advantage of having your teens examined by their pediatrician is that this affords a great opportunity to review their past medical history and to assess their growth and development,” she says. “And it’s a good time for them to receive required immunizations and any necessary laboratory studies.”
The physical exam is performed to help make sure that a child or teen is physically fit, explains Dr. Schlesinger. The exam includes checking weight, height, blood pressure and heart rate and general fitness, as well as addressing any health problems.

The physical is also a great time for your pediatrician to counsel your teens on pertinent lifestyle issues.

“Important topics, such as avoiding drugs, alcohol and tobacco, can be discussed, as well as the physical changes associated with adolescence,” she says.

Practical issues, such as staying safe on the Internet, may also be addressed.

“The goal of sports physicals is to try to make sure a young athlete is healthy enough for sports participation. A physical exam by a pediatrician should accomplish this,” concludes Dr. Schlesinger.

Alternate Text
Paula Schlesinger, MD, FAAP

​I can help my patients best when I really understand their problem, so I like to take my time with patients and listen to them carefully. Then, I like to make sure the patient really understands the diagnosis and treatment.​