McFarland Clinic

Sports Physicals Q & A

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June 4, 2013

McFarland Clinic Carroll Family Medicine physician Abigail Ihrke, MD answers questions about sports physicals and offers tips how to make the most of your time with the doctor.

Why is having a sports physical important?

The goal of the sports physical is to maximize safe participation. We work with each patient to identify any medical problems, such as asthma or high blood pressure that could cause problems during activity. This includes screening for injuries and treating any past injuries. 

What do you discuss during sports physical?

Most of what we discuss during a sports physical is directly related to a young athletes health specific to physical activity. We talk about past injuries, nagging problems, concussion history and medical history. I also take the time to discuss good choices regarding mental health, drugs, alcohol and safe sex.

Discussing the medical history is helpful because it can help us catch warning flags of more serious issues that require further evaluation. If you have any concerns, talk with your doctor. Starting the conversation is the first step.

How is a sports physical different than a regular physical?

Sports physicals differ from regular adolescent physicals because they are so focused on sports injury prevention and treatment. Often adolescents don’t take the time to have a regular physical which makes sports physicals an important part of health maintenance.  It gives the adolescent an opportunity to build rapport and develop a relationship with their doctor. This will ultimately help them feel more comfortable having private, confidential conversations regarding all aspects of their health.

Why is it important to schedule a sports physical early?

It’s important to schedule a sports physical early because it gives us more time to treat old injuries or diagnose medical issues. It allows time for additional treatment, such as physical therapy, to help improve performance. 

Will there be time to ask questions during my appointment?

If you have questions for your doctor during the appointment, write them down beforehand and bring them with you. Your provider will most likely be able to address them during your appointment but a follow-up appointment may need to be scheduled if additional care is needed. 

Do I need to bring anything with me?

Often doctors need to sign paperwork from the school stating you completed your sports physical and have been cleared to participate. Bring any paperwork like this with you to save time. 

To schedule a sports physical this summer call your local McFarland Clinic office.


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