As the Sports Seasons Starts, Don’t Forget the Physical Exams!

Do you have a young athlete who is excited about getting back on the field or court? Between washing last year’s uniform, helping pick out new equipment, and getting ready for another season of cheering on your child’s team, make sure you don’t forget one of the most important parts of sports season prep: the physical exam!

Formally called a pre-participation exam, a sports physical is very similar to a regular, yearly appointment with a doctor. But unlike an annual appointment, the focus of the examination is to determine if it’s safe for the athlete to play a certain sport. This is because for students with preexisting or unknown injuries or illnesses, exercise can exacerbate their condition, leading to further damage or even death. This is particularly important for students with heart or lung conditions, or a history of serious head injuries. For students without any known injuries or illnesses, the exam looks for any potential concerns, and makes sure they are in good health.

The Sports Physical

To determine if a student can safely participate, the doctor will ask questions about:

  • Past or current illnesses or injuries
  • Past hospitalization or surgeries
  • Family history of serious illness
  • Medications

They will also probably ask questions that pertain specifically to sports and exercise. For example, they might ask if the student has ever passed out, felt dizzy, or had breathing trouble when exercising. They will also do a physical examination, which checks basic things like:

  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure and pulse
  • Vision
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Ears, nose, and throat
  • Posture, joints, and flexibility

If the doctor has concerns during the exam, they will attempt to find a way to address it. For example, they might suggest a different type of treatment or management, or suggest a way to deal with the limitations of their condition. A new or existing condition is not necessarily a reason to panic and quit sports for good. With the proper treatment, medication, and knowledge, a health condition can be monitored and managed.

Malpractice During Sports Physicals

If a doctor fails to diagnose or address a health condition during a sports physical, it can have serious consequences, including long-term damage or even death. When a doctor negligently clears a student to play a sport, despite a health condition or concern, it might be medical malpractice.

School sports are a great way to stay active, make friends, and show off some team spirit, but they are not worth the risk of worsening an injury or health condition. By getting a sports physicals before the start of the season, students can get the medical support they need to have a safe, successful season.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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