Distinct Differences Between an Annual and Sports Physical

Before you make a tackle, smash a baseball, run a lap, or prepare to join a team, you must pass a sports physical. You might wonder if you can use your annual physical findings as proof that you can participate in your chosen sport. However, the distinct differences between an annual and sports physical illustrate why both are necessary.

Distinct Differences Between an Annual and Sports Physical

What To Expect During an Annual Physical

What separates an annual physical from a sports physical is that the annual physical examines more than just your physical health. Annuals also determine the development of your emotional and social well-being. The physician is more concerned about your general health and performs a comprehensive physical assessment.

Additionally, they will take some time to learn about your family’s medical history. By gaining these pieces of information, they can take the appropriate measures to prevent any severe medical incidences before they happen. 

Another purpose for having an annual exam is to see how much you are growing. By tracking your measurements from the year prior, your doctor can see if you are developing normally.

At this time, they might also educate you on critical issues like drug and alcohol abuse and how you can avoid falling into those habits. Finally, these yearly checkups should establish trust in your doctor, making these meetings less awkward.

To recap, the following things should happen during your annual physical:

  • Lab samples
  • Additional immunizations
  • Family history
  • Nutritional tips
  • Mental assessments

How a Sports Physical Is Different

The primary reason you must have a sports physical before you hit the field of play is to gain an up-to-date assessment of your current state. Schools require that you pass a sports physical to participate in team activities, as they help guarantee that you won’t have any medical complications.

Your physician will make the final call on your participation once they examine your current fitness level and any preexisting conditions that may be holding you back. By the end of your visit, your personal care provider will determine:

  • The condition of your heart
  • Blood pressure
  • Height and weight
  • Eyesite and hearing capabilities
  • Muscle, bone, and strength development

Why Not Both?

To paraphrase the great Atlanta poet, Future, your best strategy is to complete both at the same time. Most primary care physicians would rather perform both examinations simultaneously, so you might as well get an annual physical if you also need a sports physical to participate in games.

Now that you know the distinct differences between an annual and sports physical, you don’t need to feel apprehensive while in the waiting room. No matter how old you are, it’s always beneficial to be proactive about your health.

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