Camp and sports physicals: Prepping for summertime fun

April 26, 2018 Providence Health Team

  • Most summer camps and sports require a pre-camp or pre-sports physical to participate.
  • Sports physicals screen for pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Diagnosing and correcting small issues before summer camps and sports begin may help improve your child’s overall performance.

The countdown to summer is on, so it’s time to start thinking about fun-in-the-sun activities for your kids. Summer camps and sports are terrific ways to help your child stay active and engaged throughout the midyear months. They also provide the opportunity to learn important life skills like independence, teamwork, and leadership.

These activities are a lot of fun for kids and can be the highlight of their vacation—for parents, summer camp and sports come with a lot of planning and preparation. One of the most important things you can do to help your child stay safe and have a fun summer is to schedule a physical before they head off to camp or practice.

Why does my child need a camp or sports physical?
Most summer camps or sports require a physical in order to participate. Pre-camp or pre-sport physicals are important to ensure your child is in good physical health, to screen for any pre-existing conditions, and to help reduce the risk of potential injury. This screening is also a good opportunity for your provider to provide tips for preventing the likelihood of injury or re-injury. More than 60 percent of all organized sports-related injuries occur during practices—not games—so it’s important to be prepared before the season starts.

If your child has a pre-existing medical condition like asthma or a recently sprained ankle, your provider can give your child the tools and information they need to be safe. This information can also help camp counselors or coaches plan activities with the health and well being of your child in mind.

What can I expect at my child’s physical?
Below is a list of things that are typically involved in a pre-camp or pre-sports physical exam:

  • Review your child’s complete medical history
  • Review your child’s medications including vitamins or dietary supplements
  • Perform a general physical exam of the condition of your child’s heart, lungs, belly, ears, nose, and throat
  • Check your child’s vitals (e.g., height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and oxygen saturation vision, joints, strength, and flexibility)

(NOTE:  This visit does not replace an annual wellness exam.)

Often, summer camps and sports teams have medical forms that need to be filled out by your provider’s office before your child is eligible to participate. Be sure to bring them with you on the day of your child’s appointment to avoid any delays or hiccups to your summer fun!

What if there is a problem?
The primary goal of these physical exams is to make sure your child is healthy and safe. However, if your child’s provider does not give the go-ahead, he may recommend additional tests or a follow-up exam. It is better to address small issues before activities begin to avoid the risk of further injury. Assessing a pain in the knee or ankle and treating it with exercises, a brace or new sneakers that offer more support can not only help your child be more comfortable, but it may also help improve their overall performance and experience.

If time is short, Providence Express Care offers sports and camp physicals that are convenient and affordable. Call 888-227-3312 to schedule an appointment.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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