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What is a Sports Medicine Specialist?

Sports Medicine Specialists

Posted on: Oct 30 2014

A Sports Medicine Specialist is a physician with significant specialized training in both the treatment and prevention of illness and injury. The Sports Medicine Specialist helps patients maximize function and minimize disability and time away from sports, work, or school.

He or she is a physician who:
• Is board certified in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine,
Pediatrics, or Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation.
• Has obtained one to two years of additional training in Sports Medicine through one of the
accredited Fellowship (subspecialty) Programs in Sports Medicine.
• Has passed a national Sports Medicine certification examination allowing them to
hold a Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine.
• Further adds to their expertise through participation in continuing medical
education activities and recertification via re-examination every ten years. This rigorous
process was instituted to distinguish certified Sports Medicine Specialists from other
physicians without specialized training.
• Is a leader of the Sports Medicine team, which also may include specialty physicians
and surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, coaches, other personnel, and the
athlete.

What is the difference between a Sports Medicine Specialist and an Orthopedic Surgeon?
Both are well trained in musculoskeletal medicine. Sports Medicine Specialists specialize in the non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopedic surgeons are also trained in the operative treatment of these conditions. However, approximately 90% of all sports injuries are non-surgical. The Sports Medicine Specialist can maximize non-operative treatment, guide appropriate referrals to physical and occupational therapies, and if necessary expedite referral to an orthopedic/sports surgeon.

Common examples of musculoskeletal problems include:
• Acute injuries (such as ankle sprains, muscle strains, knee & shoulder injuries, and fractures)
• Overuse injuries (such as rotator cuff and other forms of tendonitis, stress fractures)
• Medical and injection therapies for osteoarthritis

Sports Medicine Specialists have received additional training in the non-musculoskeletal aspects of sports medicine. Common examples of these include:
• Concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) and other head injuries
• Athletes with chronic or acute illness (such as infectious mononucleosis, asthma or diabetes)
• Nutrition, supplements, ergogenic aids, and performance issues
• Exercise prescription for patients who want to increase their fitness
• Injury prevention
• “Return to play” decisions in the sick or injured athlete
• Recommendations on safe strength training and conditioning exercises
• Healthy lifestyle promotion

Do Sports Medicine Specialists only treat competitive athletes?
No, Sports Medicine Specialists are ideal physicians for the non-athlete as well, and are excellent resources for the individual who wishes to become active or begin an exercise program.  For the “weekend warrior” or “industrial athlete” who experiences an injury, the same expertise used for the competitive athlete can be applied to return the individual as quickly as possible to full function.

Could you use help from one of our Sports Medicine Specialists?  If so, please call 615-324-1600 to schedule an appointment!

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