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Health SceneImportance of a Sports Physical for AthletesBY DR. JAMIE LONGHURST, Bronson Family Medicine MarshallSummer is here and schedules are filling up with warm weather ac- tivities. Before we know it fall will arrive and so will the need for your child’s annual sportsphysical. It is important for all athletes, regardless of what sport he or she plays, to receive a physical prior to the start of the season.Here are a few frequently asked ques- tions about sports physicals:• When is the best time to schedulea physical? Six weeks before the beginning of the season gives both the athlete and healthcare provider enough time to treat a current injury, or make another health recommenda- tion. Many schools have a completiondeadline. Make sure you’re awareof the deadline before sending your child to tryouts. When scheduling an appointment with your primary care provider, remember that appointments toward the end of the summer fill up fast!• If my child had a concussion last season can he or she still play this season? Returning to play after a concussion varies for everyone. It depends on the severity of the injury as well as the athlete, because every- one heals differently. With everyconcussion, make sure you’re follow- ing an approved treatment plan and continue to monitor your child. After the recommended recovery time, make sure your child is evaluated again to receive additional directions for treatment or clearance for playing. During the sports physical, we will ask your child if they are having certain symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, passing out, or dizziness. If they have suffered from a concussion we will do additional testing to make sure it is safe for them to play.• How often does my child need a sports physical? Typically once at the beginning of the school year is sufficient. If your child suffers an injury during the season, he/she may need to be evaluated again depending on the injury. This does not require an additional physical, but your child may need clearance to play.• What can my child expect when coming in for a physical? Thereare two main components to a sports physical: the medical history and a physical examination. We will care- fully review your child’s medical his- tory, including family history, aller- gies, medications, previous illnesses, and hospitalizations or injuries that might have an impact on your child’s safety when playing sports. He or she will then have a head-to-toe physical exam done, which includes checking height, weight, heart rate, and blood pressure. Once complete, we make a decision if it is safe enough for your child to play sports with or without restrictions, or if further testing needs to be done.• Where can I take my child for a sports physical? Your child’s primary care provider can perform a sports physical. These appointments fill up fast during the summer and fall sea- son, so be sure to plan ahead to avoid the last minute rush. If your child doesn’t currently have a primary care provider, there are several convenient practices in Calhoun County that are accepting new patients. Visit bronson- to connect your child with a provider.He or she will then have a head-to-toe physical exam done, which includes checking height, weight, heart rate, and blood pressure.14 SCENE 4307 I ANNUAL REPORT CARD

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