Most states now require that students take a sports physical before they are allowed to join any athletic teams, but you may be wondering why one is necessary every year. These repeated physicals may seem redundant, but they are actually an important safety net to ensure that your child has not suffered any injuries or new conditions that could prove dangerous on the field. These are four serious developments that repeat sport physicals are designed to catch and prevent before they become an emergency.
Watching for Signs of Concussion
Some people think that concussions aren't a big deal if you aren't experiencing symptoms like vomiting, but even minor concussions can have lasting effects on cognitive function according to momstream.com.
The rate of children entering the ER to be treated for a concussion has been steadily increasing, and once you have suffered one concussion, you are more likely to experience one again. Unfortunately, many minor concussions are never recognized or treated. Symptoms like fogginess, fatigue, dizziness, and an inability to focus are all common in cases of untreated concussions, and those negative effects can carry over into your child's academic performance.
The doctor administering the sports physical will examine your child for any lingering signs of traumatic head injury and advise against contact sports if necessary. If your child falls in a game or gets checked in a contact sport, take them to a child health clinic in your area if they show the previously mentioned symptoms or have things like ringing in their ears and headaches.
Catching Persistent Injuries Early
Young athletes have a talent for bouncing back from injuries, but sometimes a twisted ankle or a hurt hip can lead to a nagging ache that never seems to go away. Besides being distracting and painful, these injuries can progress and become worse as your child ages, especially if they are stressed without receiving adequate treatment or therapy. A sports physical is an opportunity for your child to complain about every little ache and pain and be sure that it isn't something more serious.
Monitoring the Hormonal Impacts of Sports
Playing sports during puberty, despite its many advantages, can also change how your teenager's body develops and produces hormones. So long as your child is getting enough to eat and not overdoing the training, his or her growth should not be affected. Girls, however, are at risk for delayed menstruation with enough physical activity, which can lead to bone density issues later. This condition is manageable however, and should not prevent your daughter from playing sports in school.
Finding Genetic Conditions as They Develop
Finally, it is important to realize that not all health conditions manifest themselves early. As your child grows, any hidden health issues in his or her genetic code will begin to appear, but it may take the expert eye of a doctor to notice them before they become a problem. For instance, there have been many cases of tall basketball players suffering from the condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Because these children are active and in shape, they may not feel the need to get regular physicals, and then their condition can be fatal since they aren't treate. By scheduling an exam every year, you can rest assured that your child is healthy, comfortable, and ready to take to the field without any underlying risks.