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Sports tests are specialized and very precise medical examinations that are to confirm the he alth condition of competitive training. Thanks to the successful completion of the research, athletes can be admitted to training and competitions, and the risk of he alth problems due to excessive physical activity is minimized. See what sports tests should be done by professionals, and which by amateurs who train intensively.

Sports researchis not only a formality, but also a guarantee of the availability of a person practicing sports. They allow you to check how the body of an active person reacts to increased physical effort and whether, under the influence of training loads, there has been no excessive overloading of individual organs or parts of the body.

Moreover,research for athletesis to answer the question whether a given person can engage in competitive sports without risk to he alth. Their goal is also to detect possible irregularities that eliminate the tested person from practicing a given discipline.

Who should do sports tests?

The obligation to perform tests for athletes results from the Act on qualified sport of July 29, 2005. According to this act, the test must be performed by athletes who either start or continue practicing qualified sports. Qualified sport is a sport activity that involves sports competition within a specific discipline and is conducted and organized by the Polish sports association or authorized bodies.

In addition to professional athletes, the tests should also be performed by people who regularly play sportsat least three times a week at medium or high intensity levels . The obligation to perform sports tests by amateurs was also specified in the aforementioned act, but its enforcement from ordinary persons is more difficult. Amateurs do not always take part in official competitions that require appropriate medical certificates. They often train, but they do it in the privacy of gyms, gyms or outside. They do not need a doctor's approval for this, although it should be in their private interest to check their he alth regularly, especially ifthey exercise intensively - e.g. by running in marathons or lifting weights.

Apart from athletes, coaches (the requirement to issue a coach's license) as well as referees and sports instructors (in some sports) are also subject to mandatory sports examination.

It is worth adding that there is an Ordinance of the Minister of Sport of July 22, 2016, which specifies which doctors can decide on the issue of medical certificates. A medical certificate may be issued by a doctor specializing in "sports medicine", and if the athlete is a disabled person, such a document may only be issued by a doctor specializing in medical rehabilitation. In the case of children and adolescents up to 21 years of age and people between 21 and 23 years of age, the certificate allowing them to practice sports is issued by a doctor who has a certificate confirming the completion of the introductory course in the "sports medicine" specialization.

When and how often to do sports tests?

The extent to which and how often the athlete must undergo specialist examinations has been specified in the Regulation of the Minister of He alth of July 22, 2016 (on the qualifications of doctors authorized to issue medical certificates to competitors regarding the he alth status and the scope and frequency of medical examinations necessary to obtain these certificates). According to this regulation, tests for athletes are divided into preliminary, periodic and control tests.

The preliminary testsshould be performed before practicing qualified sports. They are a necessary requirement for obtaining a competitor's license which en titles an athlete to participate in qualified sport. Such a competitor must undergo tests that show no contraindications to practice a specific field of sport. Their scope includes:

  • EKG test,
  • general urine test,
  • OB examination,
  • general morphology,
  • glucose concentration,
  • general medical examination (including oral cavity he alth),
  • anthropometric measurements (body fat measurement),
  • orthopedic examination,
  • ENT examination,
  • ophthalmological examination,
  • neurological examination (only for combat sports),
  • EEG test (only for combat sports),
  • spirometry (only for divers),
  • hepatitis B and C, HBS, HCV and HIV testing (for wrestling, judo, taekwondo and boxing only)

After obtaining a competitor's license, athletes must undergoperiodic examinations , periodically:

  • once every 6 months(anthropometry, general medical examination, orthopedic examination),
  • once a year(ECG, urine test, ESR, morphology, glucose, and for judo, boxing, wrestling or taekwondo athletes, additionally a serological test),
  • once every 2 years(ENT examination, ophthalmological examination, in the case of people practicing martial arts, additionally EEG and neurological examination, in the case of divers, additionally spirometry).

Control tests (which include general, specialist and diagnostic tests) are performed on players after each past injury and trauma acquired during training. Their goal is to decide whether the competitor can return to professional sports without any threat to his he alth and life.


How often should amateurs do sports tests?

In the case of amateur athletes, a frequent phenomenon is the lack of a medical certificate allowing them to practice a given activity. And even the usual running or training in the gym with weights carries the risk of injury or even serious illness. Every now and then the media circulates information that someone died while jogging or on the pitch. If all amateurs regularly checked themselves, there might not be such cases at all.

Amateur athletes, due to the lack of specific indications for performing sports medical examinations, should follow the general rules and - just like professional athletes - report for preliminary, periodic and check-up examinations. They should go to periodic checkups at least once a year. However, the basis should be preliminary tests that are able to detect hidden diseases and defects before exposing the body to a lot of effort.

It must be remembered that amateurs are usually people who started to practice sport suddenly and recently, and their body very slowly adjusts to hard work. Therefore, you need to be sure that the sudden, intense effort will not hurt him.

Which tests for athletes should be performed by professionals, and which by amateurs?

The tests recommended for athletes are listed in the Regulation of the Minister of Sport of July 2016. Some of the research is common to everyone, and some of the research concerns only selected sports.

The following tests should be performed by both professional and amateur athletes:

EKG and Fitness Test- EKG is a test for your heart. In this case, it is a 12-lead test with description. The test is performed while resting, but it can also be performed during exercise to assess your body's performance and how your heart and circulatory system responds to exercise. Stress testit also allows to exclude possible arrhythmias or cardiac ischemia under load. This test tells the doctor a lot about the general fitness predisposition of the patient.

morphology- is a general blood test and basic diagnostic test. It measures various parameters: hemoglobin, hematocrit, white blood cells, basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, red blood cells, platelets. A general blood test can detect inflammation in the body, infection, anemia, excess or deficiency of certain elements, and many other conditions. For an athlete, it is a basic test, because any deviations of the parameters tested may pose a serious risk to his he alth.

Blood parameters to which you should pay special attention to a person practicing sports are:

  • the level of hemoglobin and hematocrit- although in the average person a low level of these blood components means anemia, in the case of an athlete we are talking about sports anemia, i.e. one that does not threaten he alth and is a result of a side effect of intense workouts. The sporting effort that leads to the thinning of the blood is to blame for everything. This is normal.
  • iron level- this element is important for every athlete, because during exercise, iron creates hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the body and oxygenates the muscles. Therefore, athletes have an increased need for iron, and its deficiency can be very dangerous to their he alth.
  • magnesium level- this is an extremely important element for all athletes. It is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. It is most needed in endurance sports. The less magnesium, the lower the athlete's exercise capacity.
  • sodium level- thanks to this element, the nervous and muscular systems function properly. Sodium deficiency should not be allowed, therefore the test results should be a guideline for athletes when dosing drinks with electrolytes and mineral s alts.
  • potassium level- potassium is responsible for transmitting impulses to the muscles and supporting their regeneration. It also helps to maintain the electrolyte balance in the body. Potassium deficiency results in painful cramps that make it difficult to play sports.
  • zinc level- zinc contributes to the development of muscle tissues - supports their growth and enables regeneration. This element is excreted together with sweat, so especially athletes should supplement its deficiencies after intense physical exertion.
  • creatine kinase (CK)- is an enzyme produced by tissuesmuscular. Its level proves, among others. about muscle strain. Small deviations from the norm do not pose a threat. Higher levels of this enzyme are the result of increased muscle effort, so after intensive training or starting, it has the right to exceed the norm. The concentration of CK is usually higher in professional athletes than in amateurs. It should be alarming when it reaches a very high level (e.g. several times the norm) - it indicates overtraining.

OB (Biernacki's reaction)- this is an indicator of red blood cell depletion. Although the examination is simple enough, it is of great importance for the patient's he alth. Its main task is to detect possible inflammation in the body, even if it is asymptomatic. Hidden inflammation accelerates the decline of blood cells.

urine test with sediment evaluation- urine test is very important in sports diagnostics. The assessment covers, among others, urine clarity, color, specific gravity, pH and it is determined whether it contains protein, sugar, ketone bodies, bacteria. The test can, among other things, detect abnormalities in the urinary tract and kidneys - and it must be added that diseases of the urinary system can seriously threaten the athlete's he alth, because the kidneys are an organ heavily strained during intense physical exertion.

determination of glucose concentration in the blood serum- the so-called sugar test. Its task is to detect if the blood glucose level is within the normal range. Both its too high (hyperglycemia) and too low (hypoglycemia) levels pose a high risk of he alth and life-threatening complications. Glucose influences the exercise parameters to a large extent, because it is "energy fuel". Intense physical effort increases the consumption of this ingredient, therefore any deviation from the norm may be particularly dangerous for the athlete.

general he alth examination- examination resembling a routine check-up at an internist. It begins with a medical interview, i.e. a simple conversation between the patient and the doctor about their well-being, history of illnesses and treatment, genetic burden, etc. During the examination, the patient is auscultated, palpated, and his basic reflexes are checked. The scope of this examination should also include the assessment of the he alth of the oral cavity (dental check-up). Disclosure of cavities or inflammations, e.g. gums, in the examined person is an indication for referral to a dentist. Remember that caries can have negative consequences for many organs, such as the kidneys and the heart muscle.

The studies listed below are usually only intended for people involved in sports at a levelprofessional:

anthropometric research- thanks to them you can check whether, among others, the athlete's weight is normal and does not pose a threat to his he alth. For tests, it is necessary to measure height and weight, as well as body fat and water content. An anthropometric test is the measurement of the BMI (Body Mass Index) which allows to determine whether a given person is obese and what type of obesity they represent. In addition to BMI, due and relative weight are also measured. The observation of deviations from the norm may be an indication for not giving the athlete permission to continue practicing professional sports or to change training loads.

orthopedic test- this is a test that is especially important for an athlete, because his or her musculoskeletal system is heavily exploited and exposed to overload and premature wear. The orthopedist assesses the athlete's posture, observes the way some physical activities are performed, and by making movements of the athlete's limbs, checks their mobility. The doctor may also assess the muscle strength of the subject by forcibly resisting his movements. If a specialist notices any abnormalities, he may order more detailed orthopedic diagnostics (e.g. ultrasound or X-ray).

ophthalmological examination- the examination consists of an ophthalmological consultation and checking visual acuity using Snellen charts. During the examination, the ophthalmologist assesses the appearance of the eye socket, eyelids, eyeball and examines the fundus of the eye.

ENT examination- during the examination, the ENT specialist carefully examines the structure of the ear, nose and throat. The nose is examined for patency, shape and proper internal structure. The doctor also checks the condition of the throat and larynx, palpates the neck and salivary glands.

Worth knowing

Sports research for runners and bodybuilders

Runners who train regularly and intensively (at least 3 times a week, amateur long-distance races, marathons, etc.) may be at risk of heart problems if they have had a coronary disease or disease that no one has diagnosed. Therefore, regular heart examinations should be obligatory, i.e. an ECG with an exercise test, as well as a heart echo. In addition, a blood test should be performed every six months with the determination of ESR and plasma elements (magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron). In the case of runners, the urinary system is also heavily loaded (risk of dehydration, overloaded kidneys), so you should also undergo urine tests as often. Moreover, orthopedic diagnostics is recommended due to the high risk of injuries and overloading of joints and muscles. Another test that is important for the amateur runner is the general medical examination along withdental inspection and anthropometric tests.

Bodybuilders and amateur martial arts are also a group at high risk of losing he alth. As in the case of runners, regular diagnostics is also needed here (initial and periodic at least once a year). The basic tests include: morphology, ESR, urine test, ECG, EEG. In the case of bodybuilders, it is also necessary to regularly perform X-rays of the spine, especially the cervical section, which is highly exposed to overloads.

Athletes regularly practicing sports, in addition to mandatory tests, should also undergo tests for electrolytes (especially long-distance runners) and vitamin levels, which have a significant impact on their sports form.

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