What is a Sports Medicine Specialist?
A sports medicine specialist is a physician with significant training in both the prevention and treatment of illness and injury. Like orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists have training in musculoskeletal medicine. However, sports medicine physicians specialize in non-operative treatment of sports injuries. 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 surgeon.
Sports medicine specialists also have received additional training in the non-musculoskeletal aspects of sports medicine. Common examples include concussion; athletes with chronic or acute illness; nutrition, supplements, ergogenic aids, and performance issues; injury prevention; return-to-play decisions; recommendations on safe strength training and conditioning exercises; and healthy lifestyle promotion. Most sports medicine specialists also serve as team Physicians for local and/or national teams and clubs.
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.
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