What is a Sports Medicine Physician?
Sports medicine physicians have specialized training in the field in medicine that deals with sport or exercise-related injuries. Their primary focus is on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of injuries that occur during sports and other physical activity.
A sports medicine physician receives special training during a fellowship program in sports medicine after finishing a residency program in another specialty, such as primary care or orthopedic surgery. There are currently no widespread residency programs in sports medicine.
Most primary care sports medicine doctors complete a three-year family medicine residency after medical school, and then choose to focus on sports medicine. An orthopedic surgery residency leads to a career as an orthopedic surgeon, many of who treat athletes.
What is a Sports Medicine Specialist?
A sports medicine specialist is an individual with specialized education and training who focuses on the medical and therapeutic aspects of sports participation and physical activity. This person can be a physician, surgeon or another provider who commonly works with athletes.
Athletes often prefer seeing a provider who has experience treating athletes. The best way to find them is to ask for references from other athletes. Local sports teams, clubs and health care organizations should be able to steer you in the right direction. Once you have some recommendations, you will want to check their qualifications.
While board certification in Sports Medicine is not available, an additional certification exam was made available in 1993 that grants a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Sports Medicine. This certificate has been made available to clinicians who already have Board Certification through the American Board of Family Practice, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, and Emergency Medicine.