Sports Pre-Participation Physical Exams
You don’t need to be a professional athlete in order to be treated like one. Now you can receive the identical level of sports medicine care that the pros get. Dr Blecher will perform the same comprehensive sports medicine physical evaluation that he has given to many professional athletes.
Physiology and Biomechanics of the Athlete
The human body is an incredible machine that can enable the athlete to perform amazing feats of skill, strength, speed and endurance. However, in order to be able to perform at maximum capacity there are many physiologic and biomechanical factors that must all function simultaneously. Deficiencies in even one single factor may limit the athlete’s ability to perform at his or her maximum potential or even put the athlete at risk for injury.
Performance starts with what the athlete puts into his or her body. Protein, fats, carbohydrates, nutrients, electrolytes and supplements will all directly affect the body’s ability to produce and metabolize energy. They are also important in bone, joint and muscle health, recovery and development. Metabolism of these elements then depends upon the athlete’s body composition, resting metabolic rate and thyroid function.
Another important element that enters the human body is oxygen. In order to achieve maximum oxygenation, an athlete’s pulmonary function must be at its maximum capacity. The lungs can be hindered by obstructive or restrictive problems caused by asthma, allergies, infections or smoking.
Once oxygen and nutrients have entered the body they must be transported to the muscles, bones and joints. This occurs via the cardiovascular system. The pumping function of the heart is crucial to cardiovascular health and fitness in order to provide needed oxygen and energy to working muscles. Cardiac function can be affected by genetic, congenital, acquired or infectious problems that can alter heart size, electrical conduction or pumping capacity. Blood flow through the cardiovascular system can be affected by changes to blood vessels from high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
The composition of blood is also important to maintain maximum transport potential. This involves having ideal levels of red blood cells to carry oxygen. Iron is an important factor in maintaining optimum red blood cell supply and oxygen carrying capacity. This is especially important for female athletes who may not receive enough iron through their diet to make up for iron losses with menstruation. Adequate hydration is then important to maintain plasma levels to keep the blood components flowing along. Thus, proper kidney function is essential to regulate hydration and plasma levels. Athletes are especially at risk for kidney problems due to strenuous exercise causing dehydration and potential long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications that may impair kidney function.
Once oxygen, energy and nutrients have reached muscles, bones and joints, they can then be used to produce motion, power and speed. However, in order to perform optimally, muscle function must be balanced and well coordinated. Muscle group strength, endurance and flexibility can be trained to improve musculoskeletal function. Imbalances, deficiencies and excessive joint laxity can also be overcome to help prevent overuse or acute injuries. Injuries that commonly develop during running or training programs include tendonitis, shin splints, stress fractures, sprains and strains. Some of these injuries may be preventable if risk factors are identified and then modified accordingly.
A proper Sports Pre-Participation Physical Exam is a medical screening for health risks and factors that may affect an athlete’s ability to train, perform and compete safely and at an advanced level. This evaluation is also essential for anyone planning to begin a training or running program. This in-depth assessment may include the following evaluation and testing to determine what may put the athlete at risk of developing injury, or limiting the athlete’s ability to train or perform at their maximum potential:
Blood pressure, pulse, cardiac exam, EKG
Pulmonary exam, chest x-ray, spirometry pulmonary function testing
Dietary and supplement intake review, electrolyte, calcium and glucose testing
Complete blood count and iron studies testing
Kidney function testing and urinary analysis
Thyroid function testing
Neurologic exam, balance testing, cerebellar testing, computerized neuropsych testing, reaction time testing.
Examination of anatomy, flexibility, strength, joint laxity and body mechanics to identify risk factors for overuse or acute injuries to:
Treatment, dietary and nutritional recommendations, rehabilitation or further recommended testing and evaluation will then be designed and tailored to the athlete’s identified deficiencies. The athlete can then safely begin their sport, running or training program and reap all the benefits that it has to offer.
For those student athletes who require clearance prior to participating in interscholastic sports, the sports PPE can be tailored to fit the specific needs or requirements of their school. We request that you please bring the required documentation from the school to be completed by the physician including the history and physical examination paperwork.
Professional or Amateur Athletes
For those athletes who require clearance prior to participating in sanctioned events, tournaments, tours, leagues, etc, the sports PPE can be tailored to fit the specific needs or requirements of their organization. We request that you please bring the required documentation from the organization to be completed by the physician including the history and physical examination paperwork.
If you are interested in having Dr Blecher come to your school, institution, tournament or organization to perform onsite pre-participation physicals or event coverage please contact his office at (818) 901-6600 ext 6551.
Dr Blecher has provided sports pre-participation physical exams for the following schools, teams, leagues and institutions:
- NBA Boston Celtics
- MLB Cleveland Indians
- NFL Cleveland Browns
- NFL Combine (Indianapolis)
- AHL Cleveland Barons
- Cleveland State University
- John Carroll University
- Baldwin-Wallace University
- College of the Canyons
- Los Angeles City College
- Los Angeles Valley College
- Los Angeles Mission College
- Shaker Heights High School
- Beverly Hills High School
- Santa Monica High School
- Notre Dame High School
- Birmingham High School
- Valencia High School