Purpose and Mission
In most cases, sports medicine doctors are orthopedic surgeons or primary care physicians who work exclusively with professional and amateur athletes. Some sports medicine physicians are employed in hospitals and clinics, and many work with high school, collegiate or professional sports teams.
These specialists are trained in nutrition, sports psychology and substance abuse, and providing advice to athletes on injury prevention is a big part of their job. Some of these doctors work mainly with specific groups of people, such as young children or the elderly.
Sports medicine doctors frequently work together with physical therapists to create rehabilitation plans, and with athletic trainers to develop exercise regimens and training plans. Sports medicine orthopedic surgeons perform specialized surgeries, while primary care sports medicine specialists consult, advise and refer to a surgeon as necessary.
Although some sports medicine doctors work in private practice, most work as employees. This means that they typically report to a department head, service chief, or similar mid-level administrator. Those employed by school or professional sports teams may report to an assistant coach or head coach.
Sports medicine physicians may have significant supervisory responsibilities. They may be expected to oversee and/or evaluate trainers and other sports medicine staff, and are typically responsible for supervising residents or less-experienced colleagues.
You must earn an undergraduate degree and complete medical school to become a doctor. After medical school, new physicians have to undertake a three to five year clinical residency program working closely with experienced colleagues in their specialty area.
You must apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians if you want to earn a fellowship in sports medicine. An RACP fellowship in sports medicine requires completing a typically four-year general practice or orthopaedics residency, followed by at least two years of additional training in sports medicine.
Responsibilities of a Sports Medicine Doctor
The professional responsibilities of a sports medicine doctor include: