A Sports medicine physician has recently become its own branch of medical care and has gotten much more attention as of late. There are many universities and schools that offer to teach the ins and outs of quality as one of the many positions related to sports medicine.
The main role of a sports physician is to correctly treat an injured athlete, promote quicker recovery and help improve their abilities. There are plenty of ways athletes end up in the doctor’s office, but thankfully there is specialized medical care catered directly for them.
Being a sports medicine physician means that you understand how an athlete’s body works, know what treatment procedures to do, and are skilled in helping them get back onto their feet in a much quicker manner.
Sports can be very dangerous and come with both expected and unexpected injuries and conditions. Sometimes a normal doctor will not be able to help as best a sports medicine physician can, so then the athlete will be recommended to a certain practitioner in this field.
Depending on the injury and severity, the athlete will be seen by a professional physician who specializes in treating the injury and can help in proper recovery.
What is a Sports Medicine Physician?
A sports medicine physician is someone who has studied solely how to treat and prevent sports or exercise-related injuries. The roles of sports physicians include the following;
- Providing athletes with complete diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries.
- They use manual methods to help cure and prevent both skeletal and muscle issues.
- Provide athletes with information and useful knowledge about sports injuries.
- They provide counseling
- They help teach about safe practice and the well-being of players.
- Assist in the recovery process by providing dietary advice for adequate healing.
- Keep records of medical information.
- They make sure to check athletes before practice to see if they can be prone to many injuries.
- They provide coaches and trainers with information and counsel them on players’ conditions.
- They interpret and order diagnostic tests.
- They provide and implement how to deal with emergency scenarios.
Sports medicine physicians also give athletes the proper information about how to properly prevent injury, and any player or athlete should consult with a trained sports medicine physician before they participate in physical activities to ensure they are up to date with how to protect their body from potential injuries and to develop sports-related conditions.
What Job Positions Are There in Sports Medicine?
A sports physician deals in non-surgical treatments and preventions. However, there are a lot of other jobs that fall under the branch of sports medicine. Different positions have specialized knowledge to deal with all kinds of injuries and conditions relating to sports or physical activities.
When acquiring an injury, an athlete will be recommended to a certain practitioner who will be able to give them adequate treatment. Here are ten of the jobs under the sports medicine umbrella;
- Athletic trainer – an athletic trainer’s primary job is to ensure that players and athletes can play at their optimal level of performance. They do this by focusing on executing safe exercise techniques and giving nutrition programs.
- Exercise physiologists – determine the correct exercise and health regime of athletes by examining their medical history and then the level of fitness they are currently at.
- Physical therapist – a physical therapist has to help athletes in recovery. If an athlete is suffering from nerve, joint, or muscle injuries, a physical therapist will analyze them and provide the correct treatment plans.
- Sports psychologist – focuses on the mental health of an athlete. They help prevent burnout and provide coping skills and mechanisms to deal with performance-enhancing strategies, pain tolerance, and teaching patience.
- Sports medicine nurse – a sports medicine nurse helps the physician in conducting treatments of athletes with fractures, dislocations, and more. They are also credited as a nurse practitioner and can be responsible for other duties such as helping to design treatment strategies, getting patients’ medical history files, and more.
- Orthopedic surgeon – can provide both non-surgical and surgical treatments and also aids in diagnosing and preventing injuries. They are often specialists in certain parts of the body, or they can be generalists.
- Physiatrist – practices are physical medicine, which helps treat athletes who suffer from mobility and pain issues. They aid in athletes being able to perform correctly again and have a wide knowledge of bone, muscle, and nerve problems.
- Kinesiotherapist – helps to monitor and implement fitness programs for athletes who are in recovery from an injury. They specialize in restoring the mobility and strength of athletes.
- Primary care sports medicine physicians – focus on non-surgical treatments as well as diagnosis, prevention, and rehabilitation of athletes. They recommend nutritional plans, recommend physical therapy when needed, and provide proper and safe training.
- Orthopedic nurse – treats athletes who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders and diseases. Their duties may include performing musculoskeletal examinations, casting, psychoeducation, and pain management. They also help in the recovery process of post-operative patients as well as aiding the orthopedic surgeon in operation preparation.
How to Become a Sports Physician
Sports medicine physicians can often lead a team of sports medicine professionals. These include physical therapists, specialty surgeons and coaches, and athletic trainers. To become a sports medicine physician, certain studies must take place first. The requirements needed to practice as a sports medicine physician are as follows;
- One of two bachelor’s degrees needs to be obtained. Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) or Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
- The training requirements are a residency in emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, rehabilitation medicine, neuromusculoskeletal medicine, or pediatrics and a fellowship in sports medicine.
- Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam or U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE)
- Certificate of Added Qualifications in Sports Medicine.
An Athletes Best Friend
When choosing to become a sports medicine physician, there must be passion and an abundance of medical-related medicine, especially in the world of sport. Sports medicine physicians help treat, diagnose and prevent athletes from injuries non-surgical ways.