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The Importance of Preseason Physicals

by Christopher Annunziata, MD

The Importance of Preseason Physicals

While most sports fans mark the beginning of a sports season with athletes returning to training camp or the first game, I mark the beginning of a new season with the preseason physical exam. I have been a team physician for local professional sports such as the Washington Football Team and D.C. United for over ten years. Currently, I serve as the Chief Medical Officer for D.C. United. 

Before the season starts, the OrthoVirginia team and I meet with athletes to clear them to play. It is a necessary process that allows us to catch any concerning health conditions and make sure the players are able to perform to the best of their ability. 

During the preseason physical, we look at a number of things. First, we complete a comprehensive medical exam that evaluates their overall health from a clinical perspective. In addition to the exam, each athlete completes some laboratory testing and an electrocardiogram, or EKG. An EKG is a tool we use to make sure there are no rhythm disturbances in the heart. The EKG test records the electrical activity of the heart through small electrode patches attached to various parts of the skin. 

After the medical exam, I then complete an orthopedic assessment. As an orthopedic and sports medicine physician, I evaluate how their arms and legs function, their overall musculoskeletal condition, and see how they are recovering from any injuries. My main concern is to see if the athlete is at peak performance, with their body working at its highest level. If they are not at peak performance, our goal is to develop a plan of how to get them to peak performance. 

As a sports medicine provider and passionate sports fan, I am lucky to work with athletes of all ages to get them to their highest ability. The preseason physical is a necessary part of any preparation for competition, and it makes me personally look forward to a great season ahead. 

If you have orthopedic concerns for yourself or your child as high school sports begin, make an appointment with me or another sports medicine doctor at orthovirginia.com/appointments.