You’re probably wondering: “Is there a $30 sports physical near me? Is that available in my area?”
Kids and adults are more active during the summer than any other season. Due to the high demand for sports physicals, more and more providers are offering discounted exams.
Not only that, most leagues and schools require an annual sports physical. If you want to ensure a successful season, you can’t skip the mandatory sports physical!
Read on to learn 8 tips to get the best physical exam for the lowest price to keep you or your kids on the field and winning.
How is a Sports Physical Different from Regular Physicals?
In the field of sports medicine, the sports physical exam is called a preparticipation physical examination (or PPE for short).
A sports physical or PPE is different from an annual wellness exam, which focuses on overall health, preventive care, laboratory testing, and gender-specific conditions for men and women.
The purpose of a sports physical exam is to determine whether it’s safe for an individual to participate in a certain sport.
Many states have legal requirements that children and teenagers pass a sports physical when beginning a sport, and at the start of each new season. But even when they aren’t legally required, schools may mandate them, and doctors strongly recommend that everyone get a sports physical prior to participating.
Sports physicals have two different parts: medical history and the physical exam.
Looking at your family health history helps doctors understand possible conditions you may have. The majority of sports medicine doctors consider medical history to be the most important part of the sports physical exam, so it’s vital to answer these questions thoroughly and honestly.
The answers you give are unlikely to prevent you from playing sports, but they could reveal essential health information that prevents injury or illness.
To understand your medical history, your doctor may ask about:
- Health conditions or illnesses your family members have had
- Previous illnesses, childhood illnesses, or medical conditions you have currently (such as diabetes, asthma, or epilepsy)
- Hospitalizations or surgeries you’ve had
- Allergies (to food, drugs, or insect stings, for example)
- Past injuries (such as concussions, sprains, or broken bones)
- Whether you’ve ever passed out, gotten dizzy, experienced chest pain, or had difficulty breathing during exercise
- Your current medications (including over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and prescription medications)
In most cases, the medical history questionnaire is a form you can take home. It’s a good idea for parents to help their children fill in the answers.
Also, make sure you answer the questions to the best of your ability. And don’t guess at answers or give answers you think your doctor wants to hear.
During the physical portion of the sports physical, the doctor will probably:
- Measure and record your height and weight
- Take a reading of your blood pressure and pulse
- Check your vision
- Evaluate your heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
- Inspect your posture, joints, strength, and flexibility
Usually, most of the physical exam is the same for male and female patients. However, if a teen has started or already gone through puberty, the doctor will likely ask specific questions for girls or guys.
For example, the doctor may ask a girl about her period and diet to look for signs of poor nutrition, irregular or absent periods, and bone health issues.
Your doctor may also ask questions about the use of drugs, alcohol, or supplements (including steroids and other “performance-enhancing” drugs and weight-loss supplements), all of which can affect your health.
When the exam is complete, the doctor will either sign a form if everything is alright, or may recommend a follow-up appointment for additional tests or treatment for medical problems.
Now that you know how a sports physical works, read on to learn some tips to find a good deal near you without sacrificing quality.
What to Look For in a Sports Physical Near Me: 8 Tips
#1: Remember Why Sports Physicals are Important
A sports physical helps you learn about health problems that might interfere with athletic activities.
For example, if you have asthma attacks but play the football position of running back, your doctor might prescribe a different inhaler or adjust your dosage. That way, you can breathe more easily when you’re running plays.
Sports physicals also help keep you safe. Just like pro athletes require medical attention to keep them healthy and playing at their full potential, so do teenage athletes. Think of a sports physical as giving you a professional edge.
When it comes to sports physicals, you shouldn’t necessarily go with the first billboard you see. To get quality care and save on the exam costs, here’s what you need to know before you set up an appointment.
#2: Shop Around for a $30 Sports Physical Near Me
Sports physicals range in cost from about $30 to $110 or more. However, the price doesn’t always reflect the quality, so there’s no need to splurge.
The average cost of a sports physical is around $59, which is often discounted to a seasonal rate of $39.
You may be able to get a sports physical at urgent care centers, pharmacies, or other convenient locations. But if you want the very best care, you should go with a sports medicine doctor, chiropractor, or orthopedist.
Keep in mind the purpose of a sports physical isn’t just to get approved to play sports. It’s also to discover any illness or injury that could affect your athletic endeavors. That’s why it’s wisest to go with a specialist who has more training in sports medicine.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to check your insurance coverage. You can ask whether the provider accepts your insurance over the phone, or you can call your insurance company to ask for a list of approved providers.
If you haven’t met your deductible, be sure to ask the cash price before you make your decision.
#3: Check With Your School, Too
While some people set up an appointment with a physician, other people get their sports physical at school. School physicals are set up with “stations,” usually in the gym area.
Each station is staffed by a medical provider who conducts a specific part of the physical exam.
If your school offers sports physicals, it can be very convenient to get the exam there. But even if you get a sports physical at school, it’s smart to set up a one-on-one appointment with a doctor as well.
School exams might be necessary if you can’t set up another appointment in time, but speaking to someone briefly in a gym isn’t going to provide the same thorough level of care as an individual appointment.
#4: Plan Ahead 6 Weeks or More
To allow time for follow-up visits, you should get your sports physical about six weeks before the season begins. That way you can see a specialist or get the recommended tests ahead of time.
Imagine scheduling a sports physical a day before practice starts, then you need something else taken care of before you can put on your uniform. That’s why it pays to plan ahead instead of waiting until the last minute.
If your state requires sports physicals by law, you’ll probably start getting them in seventh grade or earlier. But even if they aren’t required by your school or by state law, it’s best to get them if you participate in athletics.
For most athletes, an annual sports physical is usually sufficient. But if you’re healing from an injury like a broken bone, you should also get checked out before you resume practice or play.
#5: What if There’s a Problem?
What happens if you don’t get approval from the doctor, and you have to see a specialist?
While this scenario is daunting, don’t worry about it too much. As long as you’re willing to follow the doctor’s recommendations, chances are you’ll be back on the field in no time.
Most of the time, follow-up tests or other recommendations enable you to get back to your sport. Sports medicine doctors want to help you play sports. They aren’t there to prevent you from playing, but if they notice an issue, they’ll help you understand what you need to do before you play.
A referral to a specialist may even improve your athletic performance. For example, if you plan to try out for track and field but have mild knee pain, an orthopedist or physical therapist can help solve the issue.
By following the medical recommendations, you are less likely to get injured and more likely to have a successful season.
All in all, it’s unlikely that you’ll end up being disqualified from your favorite sports. The goal of the sports physical isn’t to keep you sidelined, but rather to help you play at your very best.
#6: Follow the Doctor’s Advice
Whether or not your doctor discovers an issue, he or she may have valuable advice.
For example, based on your flexibility or posture, you might get some training tips to help you avoid injuries. The doctor might recommend stretching exercises or methods that can strengthen weak or imbalanced muscles.
If you want to have a long, successful, and enjoyable athletic career, pay attention to what your doctor says.
#7: Pay Attention During the Season
Even if nothing shows up on the sports physical exam, make sure to monitor how you feel when you play sports.
If you notice anything different–like muscle pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness–mention it to someone like a parent or coach. And if the issue doesn’t go away, it’s probably time to schedule a doctor visit.
You should also let your coach know about any new health problems, or if you’re prescribed a new medication.
Just because you were approved to play sports doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt or experience medical issues during the season. If you get a physical once a year, that means you’re responsible for paying attention the other 364 days.
#8: Don’t Skip the Regular Physical
Do you really need an annual wellness physical if you’ve already had a sports exam?
In a word: yes!
While it may seem excessive, it’s not. A sports physical is different from a standard physical, with different purposes.
The sports physical focuses narrowly on your health and wellness as they relate to sports. It’s limited compared to a regular physical because the doctor is looking for specific issues that could affect you during athletic activities.
During a regular physical, your doctor addresses your overall health, including areas unrelated to sports.
If you want, you can double up and request an annual physical along with your sports physical. Just be sure to set aside some extra time, as the appointment will take longer.
$30 Sports Physical Near Me
Complete Care is offering $30 sports physicals. Our office works with patients of all ages.
You’ll get a thorough, comprehensive sports physical exam, as well as an opportunity to discuss other medical topics. That’s why this service is a much better value than an urgent care clinic or school.
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced one-on-one visit with a knowledgeable provider, you can set up an appointment by calling (541) 830-4325.
While you’re there, you can also inquire about chiropractic care and injury rehabilitation. Need a primary care physician? We have those too!