Get Cleared for the Game

Why Your Teen Needs a Sports Physical

What is a sports physical?

A teen sports physical, also called a pre-participation examination (PPE), is a medical checkup specifically designed for teenagers who want to participate in organized sports. It’s like a regular check-up but focuses on your fitness for athletics and helps ensure it’s safe for you to play.

Why is it important for my teen to get a sports physical?

There are two main reasons why a sports physical is important for teens:


Sports can be physically demanding, and a physical helps identify any underlying health conditions that could increase your risk of injury during play. For example, the doctor might check for heart problems, uncontrolled asthma, or certain bone or joint issues. Early detection and treatment can help prevent serious complications.


A sports physical isn’t just about avoiding problems; it can also help you perform your best. The doctor can assess your strength, flexibility, and posture and offer tips on how to improve them for your chosen sport. They can also discuss healthy habits like sleep and nutrition that can enhance your athletic performance.

Think of a sports physical as a tune-up for your body before the big game. It helps ensure you’re in top shape to compete safely and achieve your full potential.

What does a sports physical entail?

A teen sports physical serves as a thorough checkup to ensure your body is prepared for the rigors of athletic activities, aiming to prevent injuries and uncover any underlying health conditions. During your appointment, you’ll engage in a discussion about your medical history, habits, allergies, and conditions. Expect inquiries about past illnesses, surgeries, and injuries, as well as an evaluation of health habits like sleep and diet, often facilitated through a questionnaire.

The physical examination itself covers various aspects of your health, including measurements of height, weight, and vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate. The doctor will also conduct assessments of vision, hearing, heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, throat, posture, strength, flexibility, and joints. Additionally, depending on gender, males may undergo a brief genital exam, while females may discuss menstrual health.

Following the examination, the doctor will either provide clearance for sports participation or recommend further evaluation if needed. They may also offer advice on injury prevention and suggest a healthy training regimen tailored to your needs. Honesty about your health is paramount during this process, and wearing comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement will enhance your experience. Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your doctor or coach.

What are the benefits of sports physicals?

Identifying potential health concerns and preventing injuries are some of the key benefits of sports physicals. Here’s a deeper dive into how they can benefit young athletes:

Catching Underlying Conditions:

Silent Threats 

Many medical problems don’t cause any symptoms, especially in young people. A sports physical can uncover these hidden issues, like heart conditions or certain lung problems, before they lead to serious complications during exercise. Early detection allows for proper treatment and reduces the risk of life-threatening events on the field.

Better Management

Even if you have a known condition like asthma, a sports physical can help ensure it’s well-controlled. The doctor can adjust medications or recommend effective strategies to manage your condition while playing sports.

Strength & Flexibility Checks

By assessing your muscle strength, flexibility, and posture, the doctor can identify areas of weakness or imbalance that might make you more prone to injuries. They can then suggest exercises or stretches to improve these areas and reduce your overall injury risk.

Past Injuries

The physical also reviews past injuries to see if they’ve fully healed and if there are any limitations you need to be aware of when returning to sports. This helps prevent reinjury and allows for a safe return to play.

Healthy Habits Education

Sports physicals are a chance to discuss healthy habits essential for athletic performance and overall well-being. The doctor might talk about proper sleep, nutrition, and hydration to optimize your health and help you reach your athletic goals.

Open Communication

The physical creates a platform for open communication with a healthcare professional. You can discuss any health concerns you might have, and the doctor can provide guidance and support.

Overall, sports physicals play a crucial role in safeguarding young athletes’ health and promoting a safe and enjoyable sports experience.

What are some tips for parents on preparing their teen for the physical and what questions to ask the doctor?

Before the appointment, it’s essential to gather pertinent information. This includes collecting any past medical records, immunization documents, and creating a list of current medications your teen is taking. Many doctors provide a health history questionnaire beforehand, so it’s wise to review it together to ensure accuracy and completeness. This is also an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns your teen may have about the form. Encourage open communication with your teen about their health, emphasizing the importance of honesty with the doctor regarding any injuries, concerns, or questions they might have.

On the day of the appointment, ensure your teen is dressed in comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that allows for easy movement during the physical exam. Arriving a few minutes early helps to complete any necessary paperwork promptly. During the appointment, encourage your teen to ask questions and seek clarification from the doctor on any limitations or restrictions placed on their participation based on the physical exam findings. Inquire about injury prevention tips, specific exercises, or stretches tailored to their chosen sport, and seek advice on proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep habits to optimize their performance and overall health. Additionally, discuss the need for future follow-up appointments or screenings based on your teen’s health history and address any specific concerns you or your teen may have regarding their health or fitness for the sport.

It’s crucial to involve your teen actively in the conversation with the doctor, empowering them to take ownership of their health and feel comfortable asking questions. Remind your teen that the doctor is there to help and ensure their safety in sports. By following these tips and maintaining open communication with the doctor, you can ensure your teen has a positive and informative sports physical experience.


Think Whole Person Healthcare is dedicated to keeping you healthy through preventative care and treatment for various medical conditions. From sleep issues to persistent back pain, our physicians, advanced practice providers, and specialists are committed to you and your family’s lifelong health and well-being. 

Our walk-in clinic treats anyone, even those who are not a think patient or do not have a primary care provider currently. To learn more about our comprehensive healthcare services, visit our Services page online and choose your own think medical professionals by visiting our Meet Your Doctor page. 

We help you stay healthy. Give us a call at 402.506.9000.

Skip to content