What Is A Sports Medicine Physician?

Published on July 18, 2022 | Last Updated on August 3, 2022 by

The medical aspect of sports is very important. Athletes are more prone to injuries than other people because their activities are more strenuous and physically exerting. Hence, medical personnel must specialize in treating and taking care of sportspersons to aid their health and ensure that they are in optimum condition for performance. Ideally, a sports injury is treated by a sports doctor.

A sports physician is most suited to assist you because sports medicine aims to treat and prevent physical activity and sports accidents. You may ask, who is a sports medicine doctor, and how are they different from those who practice family medicine like your family doctor? Read on to get your answers.

A sports medicine physician is a primary care doctor with extensive training in diagnosing and treating disease and injury. They are perfectly suited to offer thorough medical care to athletes, sports teams, or energetic people just trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Sports medicine doctors work as a team of doctors at various levels and are only focused on non-surgical sports medicine.

Generally, a sports medicine doctor’s job is to assist athletes of all age groups who sustain injuries while engaging in physical exercise. They aim to return the patient to activity as soon and safely as feasible. They can operate independently, in a clinical setting, or as a team or league physicians for pro sports teams.

Sports medicine doctors frequently assist patients suffering certain diseases, whether serious athletes or not, given their training in musculoskeletal medicine. They’re also fantastic resources for those just starting a fitness or training regimen.

Below, we will take a look at how a sports medicine physician can aid you on your journey to be a strong and healthy athlete or sportsperson.

Do Sports Medicine Doctors Carry Out Surgeries?

Sports medicine doctors are nonoperative, so they don’t conduct extensive open procedures. Many of them do, however, carry out state-of-the-art micro-invasive surgical operations that formerly needed a significant open surgery. They also frequently collaborate closely with orthopedic surgeons, physiotherapists, athletic trainers, and dietitians.

Common Conditions Handled By Sports Physicians

Sports medicine doctors frequently deal with the following conditions, while certain injuries are more prevalent in some sports than others:

  • Ligament, tendon, and muscular injuries
  • Fractures
  • Head injuries (mostly concussions)
  • Cartilage injuries
  • Asthma (exercise-induced)
  • Ankle sprains
  • Heat illnesses
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Knee injuries

These are the most common types of injuries that sports physicians deal with in their line of work.

Young medical doctor woman

How To Become A Sports Medicine Physician

Anyone who wants to practice sports medicine must first have graduated from an accredited medical school. Your residency will probably concentrate on pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, or physical medicine and rehab once you graduate. You have the option of finishing a fellowship in sports medicine after completing your residency.

In Canada, for instance, you must first obtain a baccalaureate degree in a subject like biology if you want to practice sports medicine in Canada. After receiving your bachelor’s degree, you must complete a three- or four-year Medical Doctor (MD) program at an authorized university.

A post-graduate program in internal medicine or another specialty, such as family practice, pediatrics, emergency medicine, or orthopedics, must be completed after receiving your MD. To receive a CASEM diploma in sports and exercise medicine, you must complete a one- to two-year sports medicine fellowship after receiving certification in a medical specialty.

However, before going on this long academic journey, you must first decide whether being a sports medicine doctor is the best career choice. Consider the following inquiries for yourself:

  • Do you find the medical treatments for athletes to be fascinating?
  • Do you enjoy learning and perform well in science?
  • Do you love sports with all your heart?
  • Do you possess a good memory and a sincere concern for others’ health?
  • Can you prioritize an athlete’s needs over those of their team?
  • If your response to the above questions was affirmative, it is a great career path for you.

Job Duties Of a Sports Physician

Regardless of their work environment, sports doctors have several duties common to everyone in practice. These include:

  • Helping the athlete perform at optimum levels.
  • Taking care of the athletes to ensure that as much as possible, injuries are prevented.
  • Treating chronic, sometimes underlying, health conditions that may negatively affect athletic performance.
  • Suggest suitable diet and exercise programs.
  • Liaise with coaches, physiotherapists, dietitians, strength and conditioning coaches, and all other personnel.
  • Plan the treatment and rehabilitation of the athlete when they get injured.
  • Executing treatments, such as diagnostic ultrasonography and injections.
  • Ordering diagnostic tests or imaging techniques, then interpreting the results.
  • Performing physicals and documenting medical histories of athletes.
  • Instructing players and coaches on proper diet, hydration, workout techniques, and injury avoidance.

These are the core duties of sports medicine physicians. The doctor must put the health and well-being of the athlete first in any decision they make.

Reasons To See A Sports Medicine Physician

Not only athletes need sports medicine physicians. A sports injury can happen to everyone who works out or plays sports on the weekends. Your primary care physician can be the first physician you visit. You’ll probably be sent to a sports physician if they determine that you require expert care.

Here are a few justifications for seeking treatment from this expert.

Acute Injuries (Sports-related injuries)

These injuries occur suddenly when you’re exercising or playing a sport. Sprains and strains are typical ones. Knee and muscle injuries, shattered bones, fractured joints, and Achilles tendon injuries are more severe. That tendon connects your heel bone to the muscle at the rear of your calf and is located behind your ankle.

Symptoms of acute sports injuries include swelling, loss of movement, sudden pain, weakness, or if a joint is dislocated.

Chronic Sports Injury

Over time, these injuries progressively worsen. They frequently result from overworking or overtraining. Injuries to the rotator cuff are typical (a group of tendons and muscles in your shoulder). Tendinitis and fissures in a bone are two further instances (stress fracture). Some symptoms of a chronic injury are pain during physical activity, continuous pain even during rest, and swellings that worsen after activity stops.

To Prevent a Sports Injury

A sports medicine physician should be seen to prevent a sports injury. If you’re beginning a new sport, exercise, or any form of physical activity, think about it.

Additionally, if you have changed your training plan to increase the amount of activity or to include new activities, you should consult with a sports medicine physician to assess for weaknesses and possible injury concerns.

If You Need Orthopedic Surgery

You may need to consult an orthopedic surgeon if a sports injury has left you with a shattered bone or a dislocation.

Surgery to correct the condition can be necessary as part of the treatment if you have a torn tendon, rotator cuff injury, or a torn ligament.

Conclusion

This article has examined what sports medicine physicians are and what their duties entail. Their role is extremely important because most of us love sports when they are properly done, and these doctors ensure that athletes can perform at their very best while also ensuring that their health is preserved.

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