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Ensure safe start to school with sports physical

Participating in school sports is a great way for kids to get exercise and stay healthy but it’s important they get a sports physical before starting an activity, say experts at Baylor College of Medicine.

“I consider exercise a prescription for good health, but it needs to be done as safely as possible, and a sports physical ensures it’s safe to participate,” said Dr. Irvin Sulapas, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor who specializes in sports medicine.

Sports offer more than just physical health benefits, Sulapas noted. They also can promote important developmental skills in adolescents. 

“Participation in sports is a healthy way for kids to be physically active, and it also is a good way to learn basic skills of team work and getting along with others. It creates a sense of being a part of something, and that is important for adolescents,” Sulapas said. 

Most schools require a back-to-school sports physical for students who will be participating in team or individual sports. It includes a physical exam, but just as important is the individual’s medical history, including previous surgeries, broken bones or fractures, concussions and any other medical condition, such as asthma, that could affect participation in sports.

If any barriers to sports participation are uncovered, they may be able to be addressed at that visit or patients may be referred to another physician, such as an orthopedic surgeon. 

“For some patients, a sports physical may be the only time they see a doctor all year. We may catch something and recommend continued care and treatment,” Sulapas said. 

There is still plenty of time to complete back-to-school physicals. The Baylor Family Medicine clinic accepts walk-in and same-day appointments for sports physicals for new and existing patients. Baylor Family Medicine is located at 3701 Kirby Drive, suite 100. For appointments, call 713-798-7700.