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Baby Your Baby: Importance of Sports Physicals

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Baby Your Baby - Back to School Physicals

(KUTV) Fall sports are just around the corner, and for many young athletes a pre-participation physical is required. We go over the importance of making sure your child is healthy enough to take the field.

Any child who wants to participate in fall sports needs to get a pre-participation physical exam. This exam is different than the well-child visit.

“The focus of this exam is different. It’s more geared towards making sure they’re going to be safe participating in athletic events,” says Dr. Casey Cook with Intermountain's Syracuse Clinic.

It starts by checking a child’s height, weight, blood pressure, and vision. Doctors will do a thorough physical exam focusing on the heart, lungs, as well as the musculoskeletal system. They’ll address any old sports injuries and look at a child’s overall ability to participate.

“Making sure they don’t have any chronic disease that has either been unrecognized or hasn’t been treated adequately,” says Dr. Cook.

Then, possibly the most important part of the exam, is to go over family history. This is specifically looking for a history of potential cardiovascular disease, including various types of inherited heart problems. This can include a family member who died suddenly or unexpectedly at a young age.

Current recommendations say blood work, urine testing, and electrocardiograms are not necessary for pre-participation physicals as long as a child has no red flags.

The goal of these physicals is NOT to prohibit a child from playing sports, it’s to make sure they stay safe while doing so.

“We just want to make sure that there’s nothing that can potentially put you at risk for sudden death or further injury while participating,” says Dr. Cook.

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