Life

Physical Exams Are Critical for Student Athletes

(VIDEO: Hundreds of high school athletes in Miami-Dade County Public Schools receive free physicals each year from the experts at Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute.)

Stories of student athletes across the country inexplicably collapsing during practice or a game have been widely reported. And each time a seemingly strong and healthy young athlete dies, it comes as a shock.

Comprehensive physical examinations tailored for student athletes can help prevent such tragic deaths and serious injuries. That’s why Miami-Dade County Public Schools enlists the expertise of doctors and athletic trainers at Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute to screen their athletes at the beginning of each school year.

“High school sports are very demanding and put a lot of stress on a young person’s body,” said Rob Henry, sports medicine outreach coordinator at the Institute. “A thorough exam helps ensure the student is in good health and not at risk of potentially fatal conditions. We’ve been able to identify underlying conditions that put the student at risk of premature death or debilitating injury.”

Among the most common health conditions uncovered during high school sports physicals are heart conditions, orthopedic issues and neurological disorders that cause seizures. Congenital heart conditions account for most sudden deaths in male student athletes, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AFP). Among female athletes, eating disorders are most common health conditions uncovered.

One of the most important parts of the screening is learning about the student athlete’s personal and family health history. This information can reveal up to 78 percent of conditions that could prevent or modify his or her participation in sports, says the AFP.

High School Physicals

The health screenings being performed in Miami-Dade County high schools this year include:

  • Height and weight evaluation
  • Vision tests
  • Blood pressure check
  • Cardiac and respiratory screenings
  • Orthopedic and musculoskeletal exams

Most high school athletes pass their physicals with flying colors and are cleared to hit the courts and fields. Those who are identified as having an underlying condition that could pose a problem are referred to additional medical testing. Student athletes who are excluded from participating in sports because of the findings during his or her physical are very rare.

The Baptist Health News Team joined students at South Miami Senior High School to learn more about the health screenings. Watch the video now.

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