With summer in full swing, now is the ideal time to get your preseason sports physical. Don’t wait until the day before practice starts because 15 percent of the time we find a medical issue that needs to be addressed. Your primary care doctor is the best person to perform your sports physical.
Today, I spoke with 1590 WAKR morning show host Ray Horner about this topic. We also discussed the methodology behind online physical exams.
Below is an audio file and transcript of our discussion.
HORNER: Let’s bring in our good friend, Dr. Joe Congeni, Sports Medicine Center at Akron Children’s Hospital, this morning.
Starting to head into the late times of June, which means — hard to believe it — fall high-school sports season [is approaching]. They’re practicing. They’ll get ready to go. We should start thinking as parents about the physicals, right Joe?
CONGENI: Yes, we do need to talk about that, Ray. We need to turn the page. I guess, uh, these play-offs were going on. I really didn’t pay much attention. I didn’t watch many of these games, but, uh … nah, I’m just kidding.
CONGENI: I mean, we watched them closely with our family. And, remember, there were 20 games. Cavs won 14. We had a lot of fun.
… In the summer, the teams begin to prepare and this is about the ideal time to get physicals, not much later than this. Remember, the reason being is that in 15 percent of physicals, we find something that needs to be addressed in the way of medical issues. You don’t want to wait ’til the day before practice, official practice, to get those things taken care of.
So, there are kids that are going to have a new murmur that needs to be checked out, or a hernia that needs checked out, or a loose shoulder or an ankle sprain that never healed all the way from last season and many other things. [It happens] 15 percent of the time, so those things need to be addressed.
Now, the best place for the sports physical is in the primary care office. Many times though, when we get into the teenage years, a lot of kids don’t have relationships with … a primary care doc anymore, so they are done at schools.
And, we’ve kinda tried to get away from that. The school setting isn’t ideal … uh, you know, when people go out to the schools and do mass physicals and everybody lines up and a station physical.
They’re still done that way at a lot of schools and there are ways to do ’em, but we’ve tried in the last year or two at Akron Children’s to move them into our centers that are close to the schools.
And, this is a 6-week period where you can walk in anytime … you know, to get your physical done. It will be sports related, so that we look at all the musculoskeletal issues. For people that don’t have those relationships with their primary doc and they need to get the physical done, the next 6 weeks are the key to get in.
Now one other point, Ray, is I talked to you last year about the state of Ohio, OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) really wanted to make this an all, uh, online thing.
They partnered with a private group called Privit, P-R-I-V-I-T, uh, for their exams and it would be done online. And, the fact is only about 3 percent of kids in Ohio got ’em done this way last year, and I think they found out it’s a very difficult way to do it.
But, there is some good to that. The way they do it for the questions online … like for instance, a lot of kids answer “yes” to [the question], “Have you ever passed out before?”
And, 98 percent of the time if you passed out it was because you were overheated or dehydrated, and not a big problem, but there are those couple of things that could be worrisome for a heart problem. The heart needs [to be] checked. So, there are 3 or 4 more questions that should be asked if somebody checks “yes” to that question.
That’s the thought behind the electronic physical exam. There are some kids coming through that are doing the electronic exam, but for the most part kids are coming through and doing the traditional on-paper exam.
And, down at Children’s, we’re in week 2 of 6, where we’re open for kids to walk in from any school. So that if you’re on vacation the week you’re school is [doing their physicals] or you don’t have a primary doc, [you can come here].
The No. 1 person is if you have a good relationship with your primary doctor have them do the physical. If not, they can get in our place over this 6-week period [for their] physicals.
HORNER: Alright, Joe, great information. Exactly right, now is the time to get that done. Thanks, Joe. Always appreciate the time.
CONGENI: Okay, Ray. Have a great week.
HORNER: You too. Dr. Joe Congeni, Sports Medicine Center at Akron Children’s Hospital.