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Sports Physicals FAQs

  • What do they do at a sports physical?

    A sports physical usually includes a conversation about your medical history and a physical exam, reports the NLM. The purpose of a sports physical is to identify any potential health problems that may be caused or exacerbated by sports and to treat chronic conditions or injuries that may interfere with certain activities.

  • What is a physical exam?

    During a physical exam, your doctor will study or inspect your body to determine whether or not you have any physical health problems. According to the NLM, a physical test usually includes having your doctor visually inspect your body, feel it with their fingers or hands, and listen to it (such as your heart).

  • What if you don’t pass a sports physical?

    Texas A&M University notes that if your doctor identifies a problem that could interfere with your health and safety while playing sports, they will work with you to treat and address the problem prior to the sports season, if possible. The University adds that your doctor may suggest wearing a medical device like a brace if needed or refer you to a specialist for further treatment.

  • What sports are common for sports physicals?

    Most states and schools require you to get a sports physical to participate in any type of sport, says the NLM.

  • What happens at a physical for a woman?

    Sports physicals for women are similar to those for men. They are fully physicals, however, women do not undergo a pelvic exam, reports Texas A&M University. The university adds that some female athletes may have eating disorders as a result of not eating enough while staying active and that this factor can affect their menstrual cycles. In these instances, females may talk to their doctors about nutrition and eating habits that can keep them healthy.

  • Where can I get a sports physical for my child?

    A sports physical for a child may be conducted at your child’s school or with your primary care physician during a well-child visit, says Texas A&M University. Consult with your child’s pediatrician to find out whether the clinic offers sports physicals or if they can refer you to a specialist who does.

  • Where can I get a sports physical near me?

    One way to find a nearby sports physical is to type “sports physicals near me” into your Internet search engine. However, the best and most convenient way to find a sports physical provider is to use Solv.

    Solv features only the highest-rated healthcare providers, which makes it easy for you to find a quality sports physical or urgent care center in your area. Go to Solv’s home page to browse providers today and schedule a same-day or next-day appointment.

About Sports Physicals

A sports physical can help you and your doctor determine whether it is safe for you or your child to participate in athletic activities. Knowing more about what happens during a sports physical can help you prepare for your appointment and find the right provider.

What is a sports physical?

The goal of a sports physical is to identify health conditions or concerns that may put you at higher risk for injury, illness, or death while playing sports, reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Most schools require that children have a sports physical before every new school year or sports season.

According to Texas A&M University, the average sports physical includes an in-depth discussion about your medical history, along with a physical examination. If your health is in good standing, your doctor will sign any required school paperwork so you can move forward with participating in your sport of choice. If your doctor identifies a potential medical problem, you may be asked to undergo additional medical testing or wear a special protective device like a brace during sports activities, adds the university.

Medical history

During a sports physical, your doctor will likely ask you questions about your personal medical history and that of your family.

Texas A&M University says that common family medical history questions usually revolve around a family history of heart disease and certain cardiac conditions like arrhythmia and Marfan syndrome. It adds that your doctor may also ask whether anyone in your family died suddenly or prematurely (before the age of 50) due to heart disease.

With regard to your personal medical history, your doctor may ask whether you have asthma or other breathing problems, headaches, a history of concussion, or if you ever experience extreme fatigue when exercising. Texas A&M University adds that your doctor may also ask if you’ve ever been diagnosed with a heart murmur.

The purpose of these conversations, according to the University is to identify any potential health problems that could occur during or due to playing sports.

Physical examination

The physical examination will include a check of your vital signs, vision, and hearing. Heart and lung problems are among the most important health concerns among doctors who perform sports physicals, reports Texas A&M University. Doctors also usually look for muscle and joint problems and ensure you do not have any problems with your head, shoulders, back, or knees, notes the University.

In some instances, your doctor may recommend specific strengthening exercises if you have a history of joint instability or twisted ankles or a change in diet if you are overweight, reports the University. This is also an ideal time to ask your doctor about steps you can take to improve your physical health before the sports season.

Why is a sports physical important?

A sports physical is important because it helps you learn how to avoid injuries while playing sports and how to perform certain activities safely if you have a chronic medical condition, reports the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

The NLM adds that a sports physical can determine whether you are in good health, have any current injuries, and were born with any conditions that may increase your risk for injury. A sports physical also measures your physical fitness level and the maturity of your body.

When and where should I go for a sports physical?

You should schedule your sports physical test about four to eight weeks before the start of the sports season, recommends Texas A&M University. This gives your doctor enough time to investigate and address any concerns that may come up during your initial appointment. It also gives you more time in which to meet with a medical specialist to treat your condition or injury, if applicable.

A sports physical can be combined with a wellness exam or well-child visit, suggests Texas A&M University. It adds that in some instances, sports physicals may be performed on campus at your child’s school. Ask your doctor for more information about where you or your children can get a sports physical.

What if there’s a problem?

If your doctor determines that you or your child has a health or medical problem that prevents you or your child from playing sports, your doctor may work with you to treat the condition or refer you to a specialist who can. Scheduling your sports physical four to eight weeks before the sports season can usually give you enough time in which to address and resolve conditions so you can move forward with your sports activity, according to Texas A&M University.

Do I still have to get a regular physical?

A sports physical does not take the place of a regular physical or routine checkup, reports the NLM. Consult with your doctor to find out when you should have your next regular physical and about what may be included on the annual physical exam checklist so you can come to your appointment prepared.

Who needs a sports physical?

Children and teens who plan on playing sports are usually required by their schools to get a sports physical before the new school year or sports season, reports the NIH. A sports physical may also be beneficial if you participate in community sports and activities. Ask your doctor for confirmation on whether you or your child needs a sports physical before engaging in any sports activities.


Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

  1. Sports Physicals (August 8, 2021)
  2. The importance of sports physicals (August 6, 2019)
  3. Sports physical (January 12, 2022)
  4. Physical examination (January 12, 2022)

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