Who Can Perform a Sports Physical?

A sports physical is a type of physical examination that is required for participation in many school-sponsored sports programs.

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Primary Care Physicians

All primary care physicians (PCPs) can perform sports physicals. That said, many PCPs choose to delegate this task to other providers. For example, some pediatricians or family doctors may refer their patients to sports medicine specialists for their sports physicals.

Family Medicine Physicians

Family medicine physicians are able to provide comprehensive care for patients of all ages. This type of physician is trained in a wide variety of medical specialties, allowing them to effectively treat a wide range of conditions. In addition, family medicine physicians are often able to provide care for multiple members of a family, making them a convenient choice for families who wish to receive care from the same provider.

General Pediatricians

Primary care physicians (PCPs) who have completed a general pediatrics residency are also equipped to provide sports physicals. These doctors have received specialized training in the unique health needs of children and adolescents. They are also familiar with the common injuries that can occur in young athletes.

Sports Medicine Physicians

Sports medicine physicians are highly trained in the care of athletes and active individuals. They are able to provide comprehensive care for any sports-related injury or illness. Sports medicine physicians are also experts in the prevention of sports injuries.

Orthopedic Surgeons

Orthopedic surgeons are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. This includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical methods to treat their patients.

Some orthopedic surgeons specialize in a particular area of the musculoskeletal system. For example, some orthopedic surgeons specialize in the treatment of the spine, while others may specialize in the treatment of the elbow or knee.

Orthopedic surgeons who provide care for athletes are often referred to as sports medicine physicians. These physicians work with athletes to prevent and treat injuries, and they also help athletes to improve their performance. Sports medicine physicians may also work with coaches and other members of an athlete’s support team to develop training regimens that can help to prevent injuries.


Physiatrists are somone who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. They are able to treat a wide variety of issues that can cause pain or limit mobility, including musculoskeletal problems, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and cerebral palsy. Many physiatrists also have subspecialty training in areas such as sports medicine, pediatrics, pain management, or electrodiagnostic medicine.

Other Providers

Many people think that only a doctor can perform a sports physical, but that’s not always the case. In some states, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are also able to perform sports physicals. This can be beneficial if you have a busy schedule and can’t always get to the doctor.

Nurse Practitioners

A nurse practitioner (NP) sometimes called an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), is a type of nurse who has completed graduate-level education. In the United States, this usually includes a master’s degree, although some NPs may have doctoral degrees. NPs are prepared to provide a wide range of primary, acute and specialty health care services. They take on many of the responsibilities that are traditionally carried out by doctors, such as prescribing medications and ordering diagnostic tests. In some states, NPs may also provide certain types of treatments and procedures, such as minor surgery.

Physician Assistants

A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who is licensed to practice medicine with the supervision of a licensed physician. PAs can diagnose and treat medical conditions, prescribe medication, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and provide preventive care and patient education.

PAs are trained in a variety of medical specialties, including family medicine, Pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, and emergency medicine. In some states, PAs may also serve as primary care providers.

PAs must complete an accredited PA educational program and pass a national certification exam to become licensed to practice medicine.

When to Schedule a Sports Physical

Sports physicals are an important part of keeping young athletes safe. They help to identify any underlying medical conditions that could potentially cause problems during participation in sports. If you are wondering who can perform a sports physical, the answer is any licensed medical provider.

Annual Physicals

Annual physicals are a key part of staying healthy. They can help to catch problems early, before they become serious. Most insurance plans will cover at least one annual physical per year.

Your doctor can perform a sports physical, which is a type of annual physical that is specific to athletes. Sports physicals are important because they can help to identify any medical conditions that could put you at risk for injury or illness while playing sports.

Most doctors will recommend that you schedule a sports physical at least once per year, but some organizations (such as the NCAA) require them more often. Be sure to check with your doctor and your coach or athletic trainer to find out how often you need a sports physical.

Pre-participation Physicals

Pre-participation physical examinations (PPE), also called sports physicals, help young athletes determine if they’re physically able to safely participate in a sport. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children and adolescents have a PPE before starting any new sport or whenever they’re seen for a health concern that might affect their ability to participate safely in a sport.

A PPE generally includes:

-A health history, including questions about previous injuries, illnesses, hospitalizations, and medications
-A family health history
-A review of symptoms
-Growth measurements, including weight and height
-Blood pressure measurement
-Vision screening
-Heart and respiratory rate measurement
-Listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope
-Musculoskeletal examination, including an evaluation of the back, neck, joints, muscles, and tendons
-Neurological examination

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