Sports physicals: Don't let it go undetected

student athlete and therapistJeannine Hurst, coordinator of the McLaren Macomb Athletic Medicine Institute, having spent several years around youth athletics, has seen firsthand the importance a thorough sports physical can have on student-athletes' health.

"The state requires a comprehensive sports physical that checks many important health aspects," she said. "Opting for an advanced physical, our physicians look beyond the mandated requirements and check issues that might otherwise go undetected, providing a parent with additional information and peace of mind."

A basic sports physical measures a student-athlete's height and weight, checks pulse rate and blood pressure and tests reflexes, coordination, strength and vision.

While including all required health checks, advanced physicals add a full lung function test and an EKG to check the heart.

These additional tests have the capability to detect abnormalities in the heart and lungs-which might easily go unnoticed-and determine the next steps in the care process.

"If one of these tests could be the difference between life and death, they should be highly encouraged," Hurst said.

Annual statistics published by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research report cardiac- and asthma-related fatalities in youth sports as the most common, which could be detected by advanced sports physicals.

To make an appointment for a sports physical, call the Athletic Medicine Institute at (586) 992-9031.