Experts want parents to remember to get sports physicals for young athletes

Exam takes about 15 to 20 minutes; focuses on medical history

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SAN ANTONIO – As school starts so do sports seasons for student athletes. One requirement for all athletes is a pre-sports physical exam by a physician.

 KSAT 12's community partner, University Health System, tells us why these physical exams are crucial to your student athletes' health.

Dr. Caitlyn Mooney specializes in sports medicine at University Health System. She says during these exams, doctors really focus on heart health to make sure your child is safe before stepping onto the court or field. 

“The biggest things about it is to identify any condition that might make the athlete at increased risk of sudden death during athletics, which is very rare,” Mooney said. “But that's one of the things we are trying to find on the pre-participation physical.”

Here are some points parents should know about these exams:

  • The goal of the pre-sports exams is to catch any health risks or injury the student or parent may not be aware of, like asthma or an injury that hasn't been properly rehabilitated. 
  • Book your child’s appointment with the doctor six weeks before the sports season starts. That way, if the doctor finds a problem, they have enough time to make any other appointments or rehab an injury.
  • Doctors look for heart murmurs in your child to prevent cardiac arrest or sudden death.
  • Print and fill out family history thoroughly BEFORE your child’s appointment. Doctors say family history is important in diagnosing heart problems, especially if your child hasn’t shown any symptoms.
  • Doctors need to know about previous concussions your child has had, so they can determine if the athlete is still experiencing concussion side effects.

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