Sports Physicals vs. School Physicals: What’s the Difference?

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If you have a young soccer player in your family, then you should understand the importance of sports physicals. Soccer is a great sport for young athletes to play — the sport often involves a full 90 minutes of running, walking, jumping, and sprinting. Overall, soccer can be a great way for kids to stay in shape and have fun. But before athletes start the soccer season, they should get a sports physical. Let’s take a look at a few key differences between sports physicals and school physicals so you can ensure your athlete is getting the right physical.

School Physicals

Before the school year starts, many students, particularly younger ones, visit the doctor or school nurse for a regular school physical. These physical exams don’t just focus on the physical well-being of children, but emotional and social aspects of health as well. Important topics of discussion include family medical history, past and current medication, and cognitive milestones. Additionally, this exam may involve the discussion of peer pressure, puberty, drugs, and alcohol. Any vaccines that are needed will be given during this time as we as any lab work that needs to be done. Overall, this exam is for preventative health purposes and focuses on well-being as a whole.

Sports Physicals

A sports physical is different from a regular school physical in a few key areas. Sports physicals are often required before soccer coaches can let kids play. These physicals focus on analyzing the child’s current health status. This is done to ensure the child is well enough to play their sport. During this exam, any previous or current injuries will be examined and, hopefully, cleared so the child can play. Additionally, this exam will have more of a focus on the child’s fitness level to ensure there are no risks of playing sports. Overall, this exam will include eye and vision tests, height and weight measurements, heart health, and muscle and bone health. These exams are generally required before an athlete begins soccer training or heads off to soccer camps. Certified soccer coaches require proof of these physicals before they let their players participate.

As you can see, there are a few key differences between sports physicals and school physicals. Both types of physicals are important to ensure kids are healthy, happy, and progressing normally, but sports physicals are designed to ensure athletes are fit to play.