Health examination for young athletes

A health examination for the purposes of sport and exercise medicine gives an overview of the young athlete’s health. The primary objective of the health examination is to find out whether there are any contra-indications and/or limitations to doing sports. The examination helps identify health risks that can cause injuries, illnesses or sudden death in the future.

 

Spordimeditsiini SA [Sports Medicine Foundation] is participating in the project “Young athletes’ health examination for the prevention of sport-related health risks” financed by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund*.

The prevention project of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund targets teenagers aged 19 and under who regularly do sports at least 6 “academic hours” per week in addition to Physical Education lessons at school (“Academic hour” is a term used in Estonian school system. One “academic hour” = 45 minutes).

Young athletes who train and compete for less than six academic hours a week should be monitored by their GP (family doctor) during routine health examinations.

A referral to the health examination is not necessary. To register a young athlete, we will need their personal ID code and the number of training sessions per week.

The scope and frequency of health examinations are determined by the number of academic hours trained per week:

  • 6-9 academic hours per week, including competitions – health examination package A (every two years)
  •  10 and more academic hours per week, including competitions –health examination package B or C (annually)

* The prevention project of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund does not apply to young athletes training fewer than 6 academic hours per week or those who would like to have an examination in order to get their physical capability evaluated and to gather information for an exercise plan. The above persons are to be monitored during regular health examinations performed by the GP; alternatively, their health examinations are to be financed by athletic clubs or parents.

 

BEFORE THE EXAMINATION

The health examination for a young athlete is a thorough analysis that requires the athlete’s and the doctor’s cooperation. We would like young athletes and their parents to study the health examination guide, recall the date of the previous health examination and fill in the questionnaire. On the day before the health examination, one can only engage in light physical activity although a day off would be preferable. The examination should be performed when you feel fit and healthy and there have not been any injuries recently. In case of an acute illness (fever, viruses and infections, coughing, rhinitis), at least two weeks must pass before the examination after you recover.


DAY OF THE EXAMINATION

No workout should be performed on the day of the examination to make sure that its results are valid and the most representative of the young athlete’s health.

It is important that the young athlete has a meal 2–3 hours before the examination and is sufficiently hydrated during the day. Do not drink coffee, strong tea or alcohol on the day of the examination; the latter must also be avoided the day before.

Please arrive at the facility for your health examination 15 minutes earlier to change and, if necessary, complete the questionnaire on site.


PLEASE TAKE THE FOLLOWING WITH YOU FOR THE EXAMINATION:

  • An ID showing your personal ID code;
  • Sports clothes and footwear;
  • A “shower kit”;
  • The completed questionnaire (signed by the parent if the athlete is underage);
  • Visit fee of 5 € (for the health examination within the prevention project of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund).

Within the prevention project of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, three health examination packages have been developed for young athletes. Whether you are going to have package A, B or C as your initial health examination depends on your training load and the nature of the sport. The decision is made by the SEM Doctor.


Package A:

Initial appointment with a medical specialist (including a questionnaire, physical examination, health examination overview, issuing a health certificate);
Resting ECG;
Spirometry.
This health examination will approximately take half an hour.


Package B:

Initial appointment with a medical specialist (including a questionnaire, physical examination, health examination overview, issuing a health certificate);
Resting ECG;
ECG exercise test on a stationary exercise bicycle ergometer or treadmill (conducted by a SEM doctor);
Spirometry.
This health examination will approximately take 60 to 75 minutes.


Package C:

All the items included in package B;
Additionally, a battery of oxygen consumption tests.
This health examination will approximately take 90 to 120 minutes.

Package C is performed due to medical necessity or on young athletes who specialize in strength and endurance sports (for instance, canoeing, biathlon, cycling, middle and long distance walking, speed walking, decathlon, cross-country skiing, orienteering, Nordic combined, rowing, triathlon or swimming).

We also perform additional tests and examinations within the prevention program if they are based on medical necessity or there is a relevant doctor’s referral.

The health examination starts with a questionnaire. The properly completed questionnaire will greatly help your doctor in this health examination and providing evaluations and advice. The information in the questionnaire is confidential.

Without a questionnaire signed by the parent, we will not be able to serve minor children!

The questionnaire can be filled out on site, but we kindly ask you to do it in advance, sign it digitally and based on the location of the appointment send it by e-mail to veerenni@sportmed.ee or viimsi@sportmed.ee . Alternatively you can print it out and take it with you to the health examination so that we can provide faster service.

THE QUESTIONNAIRE IS AVAILABLE HERE.