Avera Medical Minute: Sports Physicals

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SIOUX FALLS, SD (KSFY)- Keatyn Moad is practicing her favorite sports at home and with her friends this summer. "High school competitive cheerleading and all-star competitive cheerleading," said Moad.

sports physicals

Soon the official school practices will begin, requiring getting a sports physical. "We've talked about making sure we get it in so that we don't have to miss practice for anything," said Moad.

The appointments are more than a formality according to Dr. Andrew Ellsworth, a Family Medicine Physician at Avera Medical group in Brookings. "They can help us to spot an issue or identify a medical problem or an injury before it becomes a bigger deal later in the year," said Ellsworth.

The form is in two sections, the first is health history. "That's gathering a lot of history that we can use to help identify problems. We're looking at the family history, what illnesses that run in the family that might cause a problem later or what injuries have they had in the past," said Ellsworth.

the second part ensures the athlete is ready physically. "Where it's a head to toe physical exam, where we're looking for any abnormalities, any issues if they have a heart murmur, or if they might have something going on with their stomach, or with their ankles or anything like that," said Ellsworth.

It is possible to combine the physical with an annual well-being check.
"I would recommend combining the sports physical with the well-child check, for one thing for convenience, get them both done at the same time. For another thing for cost, a lot of the times it's covered by insurance, and it gives us a chance to be even more complete," said Ellsworth.

To avoid the flood of calls to book sports physicals, Dr. Ellsworth says the sooner you can book, the better. It will allow you to book an appointment with the doctor you'd like to see before appointments fill up. It also allows time to address and possibly resolve any issues that could come from the appointment.

The sports physical appointment can be a time to establish a relationship with your doctor. This can be a benefit for health needs that may come up in the future. Doctors often take the opportunity to talk to athletes about social issues, alcohol, drugs, vaping, and ensuring students are safe in their home.