ASK THE EXPERT: When to schedule your child’s sports physical

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C (WSPA)– Summer sports programs are underway, and it will soon be time to register your child for athletic programs for the new school year.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7NEWS spoke with a family medicine physician about the importance of sports physicals.

Sports physicals help to identify pre-existing conditions that could lead to sports-related injuries or make it dangerous to play.

“The whole purpose of all this is to make sure that the athlete is as safe as possible for entering in the sport”.

Dr. Nathan Gasque, Family Medicine Physician, Bon Secours St. Francis Health

Doctor Nathan Gasque, a Family Medicine Physician, says it’s important for your child to get a sports physical before they play.

“We sometimes help identify issues that we weren’t even aware of such as blood pressure issues, vision issues, things like that,” Gasque said.

The best time to get a sports physical is four to eight weeks prior to the start of the season.

“A lot of people may come in a day or two before the first practice. If there are issues arising, then it kind of impedes into the play. We recommend at least one to two months before the season starts,” Gasque said.

Most family medicine or primary care providers can perform the sports physical, which usually includes a conversation about your child’s medical history and a physical exam.

“Most athletes, most kids, are actually pleasantly surprised to see how easy it actually is,” Gasque said.

During your visit, the provider will likely check your child’s heart, lungs, stomach, ears, nose and throat. They will measure their height, weight and blood pressure. They will also do a vision test.

“In addition to that, we’re going to do some simple coordination. They may have to do a squat, little duck walk, hopping on one leg, very basic things to make sure that they are capable of performing athletic endeavors,” Gasque said.

Depending on the league and level, it varies as far as how often athletes should get sports physicals. Doctor Gasque suggests one to two times a year at least.

If there is a change in leagues or sport, then a new sports physical is recommended.

To submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series, click here.

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