Anyone who follows a favorite sports team is bound to learn something about sports injuries and sports medicine sooner or later as players go down. Behind the scenes there are many sports medicine professionals who work together to get players back into the game as soon as humanly possible.What is Sports Medicine?
Sports medicine encompasses the study of exercise science. Exercise science involves understanding the principals of physiology, anatomy and psychology and how they work together in physical activity and movement. Sports activity takes normal movement to the ultimate extreme, and understanding how far the body can safely extend itself is vital to success on and off the playing field.Sports Medicine Training
Physicians who specialize in sports medicine receive the same education and training as any other physician specializing in areas such as orthopedic surgery or primary care, followed by specialized training sports medicine. The sports medicine fellowship focuses on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sports injuries and conditions. Some specialize in the medical aspect and others in a surgical approach.
Other members of the sports medicine team include certified athletic trainers, physical and occupational therapists, therapy aides, chiropractors, nutritionists, massage therapists, and orthotists.
All of these careers require a high school diploma and advanced education. This education ranges from certificate programs to masters degrees or the equivalent with an emphasis on sports medicine. Certification and licensure examinations are given by testing specialists such as the board of examiners in each particular specialty.Areas of Study for Sports Medicine
Undergraduate degrees in areas of study such as kinesiology, exercise science, health promotion, athletic training and sports medicine can all prepare students to continue on the path to careers in sports medicine.Psychology of Sports
Sports psychology is another area of expertise in sports medicine. Athletes can build perfect bodies with the strength and abilities that only an elite few can achieve. But the mind can play havoc and cause all sorts of problems. An ounce of self doubt can ruin the career of the most well-built and prepared athlete. Specialists in the area of mental aspects of sports training such as sports psychologists, coaches and trainers can help athletes learn to focus, set and achieve goals, and reduce stress and anxiety.Finding Sports Medicine Specialists
Professional teams may hire their own set of sports medicine professionals and others will have specific contracts with professionals in their own base location. Some of the more well known sports medicine specialists include the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Frank Jobe developed the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction surgery commonly known as Tommy John surgery named for the famous baseball pitcher.
Sports medicine specialists also practice in the general community and are available to athletes of all levels from youth sports to the professional level. Much of this expertise can also apply to prevention and treatment of injuries in all walks of life, not just the athletic field.