School Sport Physical Exam

Available without an appointment.

Cost: Special cash pay price is $20.00 dollars

The goal is to reduce injuries related to participation in school sports activities. This is important, but our ability to achieve it is still being debated in the medical journals. We can perform a heart transplant, but we still cannot be sure of the value of a sports physical. This is the nature of medicine.

Researchers usually focus on one serious condition (usually sudden death) to measure this value. Because our tests and our ability to diagnose this condition is not perfect, this leads to a screening dilemma. If we overreact, we order additional unnecessary tests. If we are too confident, we may miss the one child we were trying to help. There is no way to prevent this dilemma. Again this is the nature of the practice of medicine.

However, a visit with a physician is a complex interaction and has hidden value. You child is learning to interact with a Physician. They may have specific questions about their health or their bodies.

On a more practical level, during the exam I try to accomplish the following goals: 1) Discourage the use of drugs, alcohol and smoking, 2) Emphasize the importance of continued exercise after the end of their season, 3) Screen for heat disease that can cause sudden death on the playing field, 4) Screen for exercise induced asthma, which will limit performance, 5) Review prior orthopedic injuries, which would place them at risk for re injury.

Sudden death is the most feared injury. In Redding we have had 2 deaths in the last 10 years. Important warning signs are dizziness or a prior fainting spell during their sports activity or a family history of sudden death at a early age. In the exam room we listen carefully for a murmur of IHSS (Idiopathic hypertrophic subaoritic stenosis) or other signs of heart valve disease.

Exercise induced asthma is a common condition affecting 10-15% of individuals. One theory is that cold air causes an irritation in the small airways, leading to wheezing, a sigh of restrictive breathing. Sometimes you can hear the wheezing during heavy exertion activity, other times a breathing test is required to diagnose the condition. The main symptom is decreased performance and the inability to condition the body for prolonged aerobic activity. Asthma inhalers will effectively teat this problem.

Orthopedic injuries are more obvious, shoulders in swimmers, elbows in pitchers. Physical therapy and a specific training program can limit re injury.