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Sound Advice: Sports Physicals

Being a parent to a young athlete doesn’t require a medical degree, but it might help.

Our son is playing his last season of ice hockey. He’ll be 20 in June. I hate to admit this, but I will breathe a deep sigh of relief when he finally hangs up his skates. He’s been concussed, dislocated his shoulder, suffered hip pointers and has a congenital heart defect.

The heart condition was diagnosed during his sports physical. It could have gone undiscovered had I not pushed his doctor for one more test. I just wanted to know that his heart was functioning normally, since there’s a history of heart disease in our family.

I will always remember the look on the doctor’s face when he told us the results. For several months that fall, whenever he played, I stood near the glass and worried.

Most school districts and private schools require a simple sports physical. It takes persistence to get a doctor to take it further and do an EKG and echocardiogram. I pushed, and I am glad I did.

You have to know your child, family history and the level of play involved. But if you want peace of mind, push for extra tests. Now when I enter an ice rink to watch our son play, I check for the defibrillator. And wonder if the batteries have been charged.