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annual physical exams for student athletes

Annual Physical Exams For Student Athletes

March 15, 2020

If your child has a sports exam requirement for school sports, an annual physical may do double duty.

"A physical exam performed by their pediatrician should certainly meet requirements for sports participation with the added benefit of assessing other aspects of your teenager’s health and wellbeing," says Karen Wittenburg, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

Dr. Wittenburg 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 it’s 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 ensure that a child or teen is physically fit, explains Dr. Wittenburg. The exam includes checking weight, height, blood pressure, 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. Wittenburg.

Headshot of Karen Wittenburg MD

About the Author

Dr. Karen Wittenburg is a pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold's Clear Lake Clinic. "My goal is to help children reach their full potential by encouraging the establishment of healthy lifestyles early in childhood."

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