There is no denying that sports medicine is one of the most rapidly growing fields of the healthcare industry that primarily focuses on preventing and treating sports-related injuries. This specialized branch of medicine deals with injuries of athletes, non-athletes, and anyone who participates in physical activities.
Sports medicine physicians can work in a number of industries and work environments. They are responsible for maintaining the health of athletes by creating effective plans for reducing pain, building strength, and enhancing their performance. These professionals can create plans to fulfill the nutritional needs of athletes, deal with psychological challenges and provide a fitness regimen for athletic and non-athletic persons.
If you are interested in choosing a career in sports medicine and want to maintain the wellbeing of athletes and help them live healthy and active lives, pursuing this exciting medical specialty is the right choice for you.
If you are wondering how to become a sports medicine physician, what are your career options, and want to know what sports medicine physicians do, here is an easy guide to becoming a sports medicine physician.
Understanding the Exciting Field of Sports Medicine
If truth be told, the field of sports medicine is very interesting, it provides you with exciting opportunities to treat athletes of all ages and treat sports-related injuries. The goal of sports medicine is to devise special treatment and nutrition plans to get the sport or non-sport person back in action. Sports medicine physicians will have the opportunity to work in a number of clinical settings, work independently, in rehabilitation centers, or as a league physician for professional sports teams.
Sports medicine physicians have an in-depth understanding of musculoskeletal medicine, which allows them to assist people who have recently started an exercise or training program.
Besides providing excellent care to athletes, sports medicine professionals are also responsible to help non-athletes recover from muscle, nerve, and joint injuries. These professionals help non-athletes regain their strength, and range of motion while allowing them to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
Sports medicine physicians are not responsible for performing open surgeries, but they have an important role in performing micro-invasive surgical procedures. They assist orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, nutritionists, and athletic trainers to create effective treatment plans for the patients.
Duties and Responsibilities of Sports Medicine Physicians
The job responsibilities of a sports medicine physician vary from patient to patient and based on the work environment. However, the most common responsibilities of most sports medicine physicians include:
- Diagnosing and treating injuries related to muscles, nerves, and joints.
- Order lab tests and imaging procedures to diagnose the disease
- Perform an in-depth physical examination and take a detailed medical history of the patients
- Create treatment plans and assist in the rehabilitation of the injured athletes.
- Prescribe medication for the sport-related injuries
- Coordinate with orthopedic surgeons, nutritionists, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and coaches to treat patients
- Responsible for performing ultrasound, and other procedures for diagnostic purposes
- Create nutrition plan, fitness regimen and injury prevention plans for athletes
Sports medicine physicians are capable of treating a variety of injuries that are related to sports or physical activities. They can treat following medical conditions:
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Concussions and other head injuries
Career Opportunities for Sports Medicine Physicians
There are a number of clinical settings and work environments where sports medicine can be practiced. They can find career opportunities in hospitals, medical clinics, sports centers, rehabilitation centers, private clinics, physical therapy units, medical schools, colleges, and sports clubs. Depending on your interests and training, you can easily find the ideal work environment as a sports medicine physician.
- Exercise physiologist
- Athletic trainer
- Orthopedic nurse
- Physical therapist
- Sports psychologist
- Sports nutritionist
- Sports medicine nurse
- Primary care sports medicine physician
- Strength and Conditioning Specialist
- Fitness trainer
- Massage therapist
Education and Training Requirements to Become a Sports Medicine Physician
The number of years and training required to become a sports medicine physician depends on your specific field you want to practice. You need to complete a four-year MD program from a medical school. You need to enroll in the residency program in family medicine, emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics or physical medicine to develop a better understanding of the musculoskeletal system.
After completing residency training in any of these specialized medical specialties, you are required to complete a fellowship program specific to sports medicine. Getting this specialized training will make you eligible for a medical license in your state. You can also get board certification to practice in your state and work as an expert sports medicine physician.
Are you ready to become a Sports Medicine Physician?
Hopefully, now you have a clear understanding of what sports medicine physicians do and what are the training and education requirements for becoming a sports medicine physician. This information will help you decide whether this medical specialty is the perfect choice for you. If you are thinking of choosing a sports medicine specialty, you need to first apply to medical school to complete your MD program and start your journey as a sports medicine physician.