Sports Physical FAQs

June 15 2021
Dr. James Ford sees a young patient at High Country Healthcare in Silverthorne, Colorado, March 25, 2021.

Athletes from Little League to NCAA teams have one thing in common: they need a sports physical before they can play. Have you ever wondered why one is needed every season? Or if it matters where you get sports physical? Here are answers to common questions moms, dads, and student athletes have about sports physicals.

What can I expect at sports physical?
During a sports physical, a clinician does an assessment that includes:

  • height, weight, and blood pressure measurements
  • a vision check
  • checking the heart and lungs to detect abnormalities
  • an evaluation of the musculoskeletal system that checks for range of motion and the integrity of joints

Athletes (and, if present, their parent or guardian) will have time to ask questions. The most common questions are about sports nutrition and preventing injury.

Are sports physicals only for team sports?
While sports physicals are required for nearly every team sport, they’re a good idea for students—and adults— who are starting any physical activity that’s more aggressive than they’ve done before. For example, snowboarding and rock climbing are physically demanding sports; identifying any areas prone to injury can help avoid injuries that keep you from doing the sport you love.

How long will it take?
A complete sports physical takes around 30 minutes. If you fill out the paperwork at the time of your appointment, it will take another 10-15 minutes.

Why get a sports physical regularly?
Sports physicals are important because they can reveal potential health issues before they become a problem. By getting these exams regularly, an athlete and their healthcare provider build an accurate health history that can be used to detect changes in health and physical condition over time. The sooner a problem is recognized, the faster it can be addressed to help athletes avoid or minimize down time.

Plus, a student athlete may tell a healthcare provider they trust physical, mental, and nutrition information they won’t share a parent. An established relationship with a healthcare provider helps build the trust needed for candid conversations.

Does it matter where I get my sports physical?
We think so! When you get a sports physical from a Centura provider, you’re already connected to a stellar network of physicians, trainers, and other medical professionals.

When an athlete needs an advanced diagnosis, referrals are easy to arrange, and records are automatically available to specialists within the Centura network. This avoids the hassle of getting established and sharing medical records with another health system, giving athletes and their parents greater peace of mind.

Centura’s network also includes the William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center. This center provides some of the most advanced medical and sports performance services thanks to a unique partnership between Centura and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Here, academics, patient care, and research merge to help athletes reach their potential through training and elite-level sports medicine. The knowledge discovered here is quickly shared other Centura sports medicine professionals to help athletes throughout Colorado and Kansas.

To find a sports physical provider near you, use our online directory.