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Sports Physical Exams

David N Westerdahl, MD -  - Sports Medicine Physician

Sports Health Northwest, Inc

David N Westerdahl, MD

Sports Medicine Physician & Non-Operative Orthopaedic Specialist located in Portland, OR

Pre-participation exams (PPE) also known as sports physicals are important for medical eligibility for sport.  They are best utilized with good communication with the student athlete's primary medical home and part of routine health-care.   The PPE is an important way to screen for musculoskeletal and cardiac abnormalities.  It is also an opportunity to talk about general health and sport safety considerations based on the athlete's age and sport.    

Sports Physicals are about more than just sport

There are many reasons as to why someone might need a sports physical. The most common reason is school sport involvement. Due to the organized nature of school sports, sports physicals commonly start with middle school and continue on into high school. The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) in Oregon, oversees sports physicals and has guidance for conducting sports physicals. Sports physicals, have evolved over my career, however, the main components of sports physicals has remained the same. Sports physicals are designed to ensure that the athlete can participate safely in sports activities. This could be from organized sporting activities, to school sports, to a physical to ensure safety in partaking in an adult wellness program to help with weight loss.  Sports physicals are designed to focus on important aspects of a medical history, such as injuries or illnesses that might’ve affected the heart, lungs, or nervous systems. Since we all hear about sudden cardiac arrest, it’s a common need for sports physicals to pay close attention to the heart and lungs and assess for heart related rests associated with physical activity.  Other common components related to the sports physical include taking a history of injuries, such as fractures, other surgeries, such as orthopedic surgeries, as well as any significant history of hospitalizations. Most of the time individuals who have a sports physical will pass the physical completely. However, sometimes it’s a clearance that may also recommend additional follow up appointments such as an appointment with an eye doctor if the vision screening on the sports physical is abnormal. 

If you’re in need of a sports physical to play sports at your high school, or you’re in need of a physical to participate in a wellness or other fitness program, give us a call at Sports Health Northwest. We are happy to help complete the necessary documentation and provide you with a high-quality sports participation physical.