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What should be expected during a sports physical for a teenager?

Answer by:
Louise Chang, MD

Internist, WebMD Medical Expert
Medical Editor, WebMD

Your teen's sports physical should start with a thorough medical history. The health care provider will ask about any history of illness, hospitalizations, or injuries that might prevent your teen from playing, or that might limit the amount of activity he or she can handle.

These include:

  • Asthma
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain during exercise
  • Dizziness or fainting spells
  • High blood pressure
  • Excess fatigue
  • Diabetes
  • Frequent headaches
  • Eating disorders
  • Vision problems (wearing glasses or contact lenses)
  • Epilepsy
  • Past surgeries or injuries (broken bones, fractures, dislocations, or concussions)
  • Heart problems (such as a murmur or abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Bone, joint, or spine injuries
  • Skin problems
  • Severe allergies (such as to food, pollen, or stinging insects)
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Use of certain medications (including prescription, over-the-counter, illicit, and herbal medicines)
  • A family history of heart problems or sudden death before age 50

The medical history will be followed by a physical exam, in which the health care provider will:

  • Measure height and weight
  • Take pulse rate and blood pressure
  • Check the heart and lungs
  • Check neurological function such as reflexes, coordination, and strength
  • Test your child’s vision and hearing
  • Check the ears, nose, and throat
  • Look at joint flexibility, mobility, spinal alignment, and posture

Girls may also be asked about their period, and whether it's regular.

Additional testing such as blood tests, X-rays, or electrocardiogram may be ordered during the sports physical.