School/ Sports Physical

A sports physical exam or a pre-participation physical examination (PPE) is a checkup with a healthcare professional before a new sports season or return to school. The goal is to assess your health and fitness as it relates to your sport to determine if you can safely compete. The doctor or provider can also give advice on how to protect against injury, and how to safely play with an existing medical condition (for example, if you have asthma, your doctor may prescribe a different inhaler or change their medicine).

It depends. Telehealth platforms like Sesame make it easier than ever to see a doctor online from the comfort of your home through virtual visits. These are real-time video chats with doctors and providers that are used to address symptoms, discuss prescriptions, and screen for health care conditions. Telehealth (also known as telemedicine) is a convenient way to see a health care provider without requiring the commute and waiting rooms of office visits.

In-person visits, however, are vital health services. Certain conditions and specialty care services cannot be diagnosed or performed via a telehealth visit. Lab testing, for instance, often requires an in-person appointment at a doctor's office. Similarly, some physical exams, chronic condition consultations, and urgent care needs require in-person care. Some patients feel more comfortable receiving their care through in-person doctor visits, and many telehealth services require in-person visits before a condition can be definitively diagnosed.

Health care marketplaces like Sesame offer both in-person and virtual care options. If you're unsure whether or not you need to see a provider face-to-face, we recommend that you book a video doctor visit to discuss your concerns and talk through any symptoms you may be experiencing. If an in-person doctor appointment is required, you can easily book a visit through Sesame's scheduling platform.

Because children are different from adults when it comes to anatomy, psychology, immune system strength, development, and metabolism. Children can benefit greatly from seeing board-certified pediatricians who specialize in the kinds of care they need. Pediatricians can:

  • Perform physical exams and wellness check-ups.
  • Give immunizations (vaccinations).
  • Conduct speech therapy.
  • Offer guidance for pain management.
  • Check for milestones in skills, behavior, and growth.
  • Answer any questions you might have in regards to your child's development.
  • Diagnose and treat diseases including illness, infection, as well as injuries.

Save 60% on your next pediatrician visit when you book with Sesame.

Primary care physicians (or primary care providers) treat and diagnose a wide range of medical conditions while providing medical advice to improve general well-being. From chronic conditions to common colds, primary care providers are often the first doctor you will go to see for healthcare.

Some services a primary care provider can provide include:

  • Routine check-ups
  • Immunizations (including the COVID-19 vaccine)
  • Urgent care (treatment for non-life-threatening health concerns)
  • Chronic disease management
  • Medication prescription
  • Heart disease screening
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) tests
  • Sports medicine (treatment for sprains, breaks, and bruises)
  • Birth control health care
  • Wellness/ weight loss advice

Some issues require special training to diagnose and treat. If a primary care provider believes that a condition requires further treatment, they will give a patient a referral for a qualified specialist. Specialists have advanced training to treat specific conditions/ parts of the body.

Some examples of specialists includes:

  • ENTs (Ear, Nose & Throat doctors)
  • OB/GYNs (doctors who treat issues related to women's health)
  • Pediatricians (doctors who manage care for children)
  • Orthopedics (doctors who treat issues related to the muscles and skeleton)
  • Dermatologists (doctors who treat issues related to skin, hair, and nails)
  • Podiatrists (doctors who treat issues related to the foot, ankle, and lower leg)
  • Neurologists (doctors who treat issues related to the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and more)
  • Mental health care providers (such as therapists, psychiatrists, and counselors)

Primary care providers are usually the first doctors you will see for any health-related issue you may be having. In some cases, you can't even see a specialist without a referral from a primary care provider. If your primary care doctor believes that you need to see a specialist, they will give you a referral for a specialist with specific qualifications. Primary care providers and specialists will then work together on your health plan to give you complete treatment options.

Questions about who you need to see? Sesame offers convenient primary care options at affordable prices. Book an in-person or virtual visit with a real, quality doctor and save up to 60% with Sesame.

In most cases, yes. Primary care is an umbrella term to describe medical care that treats a wide range of health-related issues. Primary care providers (PCPs) are usually the first doctors a patient will see if they aren't feeling well or are looking for a referral. Primary care is divided into two forms of health services: family medicine and internal medicine.

  • Family medicine: Family medicine refers to healthcare provided for the whole family. A family medicine doctor is a primary care provider who mostly offers preventive care like immunizations, checkups, and medical advice. Doctors trained in family practice can treat patients of all ages from pediatrics to geriatrics, so they often act as the healthcare provider for whole families.

  • Internal medicine: An internal medicine doctor (or internist) provides primary medical care for adults only. Internal medicine doctors diagnose and treat a wide range of health conditions for adult patients and provide medical advice to improve general wellness. Internal medicine doctors will offer referrals to a specialist if a patient is dealing with a specific condition.

Primary care physicians can specialize in different medical fields. While most primary care physicians can treat a wide range of conditions, injuries, and illnesses, you may want to receive a specific type of care based on your need, including:

- Family medicine doctor: Family medicine doctors can treat a number of conditions, illnesses, and injuries in patients ranging from children to geriatric patients. Family medicine doctors may receive continued training in pediatrics and obstetrics to be able to treat children and women’s health conditions.

- Internists: Internists specialize in internal medicine for adults. Internists specialize in treating conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and hypertension.

- Pediatricians: Pediatricians are doctors who specialize in pediatric medicine, or the care of infants and children. Pediatricians can do check-ups for children, provide immunizations, diagnose conditions and illnesses, and prescribe medication.

- Physician assistants: Physician assistants are highly trained health care professionals that have received a Master’s degree and intensive training to be able to work alongside the primary care physician to diagnose, treat, and test for a number of conditions and diseases.

- Obstetrician/ gynecologist: Obstetrician/ gynecologists (OB-GYNs) are specially trained to treat and care for conditions related to women’s health. OB-GYNs help with fertility, childbirth, and issues specifically relating to the health of female reproductive organs.

Good question! It can be a little confusing. Even though these health care providers treat many of the same symptoms, there are some distinct differences between these fields in training and practice.

Sports medicine specialists, physical therapists, and chiropractors all help patients with pain management and injury prevention. In many cases, these providers will work together as a health care team to perform non-surgical treatment for musculoskeletal conditions. While these care providers work toward similar goals, there are key differences in how these specialists approach treatment.

Sports medicine specialists

Sports medicine specialists treat athletes and patients with active lifestyles. Their principal focus is treating and preventing injuries related to physical activity. A Doctor of Sports Medicine has specific training and expertise based in exercise mechanics - particularly when it comes to running or competitive sports - and builds treatment plans for patients that alleviate symptoms and chart their return to competition. Sports medicine specialists often work for organizations such as professional sports clubs and schools or may practice in an outpatient clinic. Sports medicine specialists may have training in orthopedic surgery, but most help patients range-of-motion problems and physical rehab rather than conduct operations. Some common sports-related conditions a sports medicine specialist can treat include:

  • Sprains
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Muscle strain
  • Joint pain

Physical therapists/ physiotherapists

Physical therapists help patients of all ages and physical abilities to help manage pain and increase mobility. Regardless of your level of physical activity, physical therapists can help your range of motion while providing exercises and stretches to strengthen and lengthen muscles and joints in the body. Physical therapists will usually practice in an outpatient clinic, or patients' homes. While sports medicine specialists focus their practice on injuries related to physical activity, the goal of physical therapy is to help improve quality of life through therapeutic methods and physical rehabilitation. Unlike sports medicine specialists, physical therapists are not medical doctors (physicians), even if they are a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Physical therapists can help treat conditions related to:

  • Limited movement (such as after an accident)
  • Persistent pain
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Rehab from neurological issues (such as Parkinson's disease, stroke, and arthritis)


Chiropractors help patients relieve pain related to the musculoskeletal system (joints, bones, muscles, etc...) Chiropractors will perform manual therapy or massage therapy to help align the spinal column and restore range of motion to joints. They work with patients of all ages and physical abilities while treating a wide range of conditions, not just those related to physical activity. Chiropractors are not medical doctors (physicians) but must obtain a license to practice. Chiropractors can help treat conditions related to:

  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Limited movement

A sports medicine specialist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating sports-related injuries.

Sports medicine specialists don't just provide quality care for professional athletes, they can also help with injury treatment and pain management for patients with active lifestyles. A sports medicine specialist (or sports medicine physician) is board-certified in orthopedic care, family medicine (primary care), or internal medicine, with additional training in pain management and injury prevention. To earn qualification to practice sports medicine healthcare, these doctors must go through a Sports Medicine program and pass the Sports Medicine national exam.

Sports medicine specialists may be hired as team physicians for professional, college, or high school athletic departments. Many specialists may also have an outpatient practice at a medical center or hospital.

Sports medicine specialists treat a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries. While a sports medicine specialist cannot operate on injuries like an orthopedic surgeon, they can assist with pain management and injury prevention related to physical activities. Some common conditions that sports medicine services can treat include:

  • Sprains/ ligament damage
  • Joint pain
  • Rotator cuff pain
  • ACL tightness/ pain
  • Soft tissue injuries

A sports medicine specialist can perform X-rays and prescribe medication, along with other treatment options, to help recover from injury and prevent further pain.

If you receive a form regarding medical history, you will want to fill that out and bring it to your physical. If not you will want to bring as much of the following information as possible:

  • A list of all prescription and over-the counter medications, supplements, and vitamins you or your child are taking
  • A list of all the immunization shots that you or your child have had and the dates they were received
  • A list of allergies and reactions
  • You or your child's medical history, such as any illnesses they have or have had, current or past injuries (concussions, sprains, broken or dislocated bones, etc.), and any surgeries or hospitalizations
  • Family history. Particularly if there have been any deaths related to exercise
  • Last, but not least, you will want to bring the sports physical form with you for the doctor to fill out and sign. This generally includes a health history form, certifications, consents, and signatures. Most schools require a filled-out sports physical form before participation is allowed.

Different doctors may conduct sports physicals differently, but they will all want to get a general sense of your state of health and well-being.

They may ask questions about any current or past health problems (illnesses, injuries, medical conditions, heart problems, chest pain, etc.), family history, diet, drugs, alcohol, supplements being taken, and menstrual periods (for girls and women).

They will also conduct a physical examination in which they may measure your height and weight, analyze your blood pressure and pulse, test your vision, check your heart, lungs, ears, nose, and throat, check for hernias, and check your posture, joint health, strength, and flexibility.

Sesame is the best place to save money on a physical. On Sesame, you can find top-reviewed doctors who offer sports physicals and pay them directly - without insurance.

Note that sometimes a child's school will bring in a doctor to conduct these checkups. Still, many parents and students opt to have their sports physical completed by an external doctor or specialist.

If you're looking to book an appointment for a sports physical Sesame can help! Sesame offers convenient consultations in Fort Worth, TX at affordable cash-pay prices. Simply search for primary care physicians in our search engine, compare prices, and book with the doctor you want to see directly on the site. Save up to 60% on your appointment when you book through Sesame - no insurance needed.

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