Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

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Jul 11, 2023, 11:36 AM | Updated: Jul 17, 2023, 3:45 pm


With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.

Dr. Callie Davis from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe and team physician for Arizona State Athletics breaks down the logistics and importance of sports physical:

Q: Why is it important that student athletes have a physical before their season begins?

Having a physical examination before the season begins is important for student athletes. This evaluation allows us to assess their overall health and identify any underlying medical conditions or potential risks that may require attention. By checking for heart abnormalities, respiratory issues, musculoskeletal concerns, and previous injuries, we can ensure the athletes’ well-being and address any factors that could affect their participation in sports or increase the risk of further injury. Additionally, the pre-participation physical serves as a baseline examination, providing a reference point to monitor the athletes’ health and development over time.

Q: What is the most enjoyable part of seeing High School athletes, and why?

I enjoy hearing the unique dreams and aspirations of every athlete I encounter. High school students possess tremendous potential and are in a pivotal phase of shaping their future. It is inspiring to hear about their desired career paths, academic interests, and where they envision themselves down the road.

Q: What does a sports physical consist of?  How does it differ from a “regular physical”?

A sports physical focuses on evaluating cardiovascular fitness, musculoskeletal function, and sport-specific injury risks, ensuring athletes are prepared for their sport.  The pre-season physical also provides an opportunity to educate student athletes about injury prevention strategies, proper nutrition, hydration, and other factors that contribute to their overall well-being. We can address any individual concerns, provide personalized recommendations, and emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout the season. In contrast, a regular physical is a comprehensive assessment of overall health beyond sports-related concerns, encompassing screenings for general medical conditions while monitoring growth and development. Both types of examinations are important to the well-rounded care of young athletes.

Q: What is the difference between a having an exam with a Pediatrician/GP v. a sports medicine specialist?

Sports medicine specialists are specifically trained to address unique needs and challenges associated with sports participation.  They also possess a deeper understanding of the musculoskeletal system, the athlete heart, relative energy deficiency in sport, sports related injuries, and the impact of physical activity on mental health.  When addressing sports related concerns such as injury prevention, performance optimization, and managing sports related medical conditions, consulting a sports medicine specialist can provide more targeted and specialized care.

Q: When (and why) did Mayo Clinic start seeing student athletes?  Is that a new offering?

The Mayo Sports Medicine Clinic in Tempe, AZ, opened its doors on July 2018 with a mission to deliver musculoskeletal care to athletes of all ages and abilities, catering to the needs of the local community as well as athletes on a national and international level.

Q: Mayo is known for providing doctors for ASU, the Diamondbacks, the Phoenix Rising, and the Arizona Ballet how does this benefit my child as they are early in their sports career?

Mayo Clinic’s involvement in supplying physicians for professional sports teams and performing arts organizations brings numerous benefits to your child, especially in the early stages of their sports journey. Our providers have extensive experience in delivering top-level care, staying up to date with the latest medical advancements, and proactively identifying potential issues before they become major concerns, resulting in positive outcomes.  In caring for high-level athletes, we have witnessed remarkable recoveries from injuries and can provide comfort and encouragement during the healing process.  Through collaborative partnerships within Mayo Clinic and strong local connections with esteemed organizations, we cultivate a comprehensive and well-rounded approach to your child’s sports journey. This ensures that they have access to a diverse range of resources and services tailored specifically to their needs.

Q: If something that requires attention is found during the exam, what next steps are offered by Mayo?

If any concerns requiring further evaluation are identified during your child’s exam, we will identify the relevant specialists and facilitate the necessary connections for your athlete, ensuring they receive the appropriate care and workup. In the event of a cardiovascular concern, our sports cardiologist, Dr. Satya Reddy, will promptly provide follow-up care and guide the athlete through the necessary next steps.

Q: If my child sees one of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine specialists for a physical, will they be able to come back and see this doctor for other issues during the season?

Of course!  As an established patient at Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, your child will have the opportunity to return and see their specialist for any other issues that may arise during the season. One of the advantages of being a patient at Mayo is the accessibility to reach out through the portal for any questions, concerns, or new injuries that may occur. You can count on continued support and care throughout the season and beyond.

Q: Can any student make an appointment, or do they need to be an existing Mayo Clinic patient?

Any student can make an appointment by calling contact our front desk at 480-342-6800. Our front desk staff will assist in registering them as a Mayo patient and guide them through the appointment setup process. It is recommended to call and schedule the appointment approximately 1-2 weeks before the physical is due.

Dr. Davies is a sports medicine physician, Board Certified in both Sports and Emergency Medicine. As an avid outdoorswoman and traveler, she strives to help athletes of all ages and abilities get back to the activity they love.

During the preparticipation exam at Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, your child may see any member of the sports medicine team, including: Dr. Matt Anastasi, Dr. Anikar Chhabra, Dr. Callie Davies, Dr. Kostas Economopoulos, Dr. Patel, Dr. Steven Poon, Dr. Richardson, PA Don Dulle, PA Danae Erickson, PA Phil Karsen, or PA Justin Wilcox. The entire team is dedicated to providing a high standard of care and a comprehensive evaluation for every athlete.

The Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center provides innovative treatment options to treat everything from simple injuries to the most complex medical cases. Clinical services include physical therapy, diagnostic and treatment imaging and athletic training.

To schedule a preparticipation physical, simply contact Mayo Sports Medicine Clinic at 480-342-6800. Middle school and high school physicals are priced at $25, while college/junior college physicals are priced at $50. Feel free to call and register for an appointment.

Dr. Davies

About Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine: Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center’s integrated practice offers clinical services in addition to physical therapy for all ages and levels of athleticism covering: Orthopedic surgery, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), Primary Care Sports Medicine, and Radiology. Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine uses the latest research and technology to help you reach your goal. Our newly expanded center features a full range of clinical and surgical sports medicine expertise and is conveniently located in Tempe.

Mayo Clinic


Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you