Sports Physicals – What are they and what’s included?

Sports Physicals, also known as pre-participation physical examinations (PPE), are medical exams that are required before participating in organized sports activities. These exams are designed to ensure that athletes are healthy enough to participate safely in sports and to detect any underlying conditions that may put them at risk for injury.

Sports Physicals typically include two main components: a medical history and a physical exam.
During the medical history portion, the healthcare provider will ask the athlete about their medical history, including any past injuries, surgeries, hospitalizations, and chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes. They may also ask about family medical history, as some conditions may have a genetic component.

 During the physical exam portion, the healthcare provider will:
● Examine the athlete’s overall health and fitness level, with a focus on their cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems.
● Measure vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate.
● Perform tests such as listening to the heart and lungs, checking reflexes, and assessing flexibility and strength.

The results of the sports physical will determine whether an athlete is cleared to participate in sports or if further medical evaluation or treatment is needed before participating. Overall, sports physicals are an important tool for ensuring the safety and well-being of athletes and are typically required before participating in organized sports at the school, community, or competitive level.

What is Concussion Screening and what’s involved?

Concussion screening is a process that utilizes the Scat 5 assessment tool. It involves a series of tests and evaluations to determine if a person might have sustained a concussion, and it can be used as a baseline measurement for athletes prior to sport participation. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can occur from a blow or jolt to the head or body.

The screening process typically begins with a review of the person’s medical history, including any previous concussions or head injuries, as well as any current symptoms or complaints. This is followed by a physical examination, including tests of balance and coordination. Other tests may be performed to assess cognitive function, such as memory, attention, and processing speed.

In addition to these tests, the healthcare provider may also ask the person to rate their symptoms on a scale to measure symptoms like headache, dizziness, nausea, etc.

Depending on the severity of the concussion and the person’s symptoms, further testing or evaluation may be necessary, such as imaging studies or referral to a specialist. The screening process is not used to diagnose a concussion, but rather to monitor symptoms and to help determine return to play status.

Overall, concussion screening is an important process for identifying and managing concussions, as prompt recognition and appropriate management can help prevent long-term complications and improve outcomes.