If you love to pursue a career in medicine but also love sports, consider working in sports medicine.
By the end of this article, you will better understand the functions of a sports medicine doctor, the locations where they practice, and the actions to take to apply for the profession, its income range, and its employment prospects. We will also discuss the requirements in education and the skills needed in this career.
It’s a vocation that’s not only fulfilling but also pays well. It can be easier to decide whether or not you should pursue this medical specialty if you know what to expect from a sports medicine physician.


What is a sports medicine physician? h2

Those who treat injuries to the musculoskeletal system, which consists of bones, muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments, are known as sports medicine physicians. They care for athletes and non-athletes who have injuries brought on by active lives. Family medicine is a branch of medicine that includes sports medicine.
Doctors of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees are commonly required for sports medicine specialists. Following that, they complete a three-year residency in sports medicine. Sports medicine doctors can work in various places, including colleges, clinics, hospitals, and private practices.

They are the team leader for a sports medicine group that might also include coaches, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and specialized surgeons. They make treatment recommendations, diagnose ailments, and refer patients to other experts, like orthopedic surgeons.
Orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors specialize in treating the human body’s musculoskeletal system. Your joints, muscles, and bones are included in this. The primary distinction between the two is that sports medicine doctors don’t operate on your body; orthopedic surgeons do. According to estimates, 90% of all sports-related injuries don’t need surgery.
These sports medicine specialists may treat amateur, professional, and student-athletes. They also help folks who want to get fitter or have been hurt while exercising.

In addition to sports medicine, a sports medicine physician typically holds board certification in one or more of the following fields:

Family medicine.
Physical rehabilitation.
Emergency medicine.
Internal medicine.

What do sports medicine physicians do? h2T

The primary training for doctors specializing in sports medicine is in non-surgical treatments for sports-related illnesses and injuries. Many collaborate closely with an orthopedic surgeon if surgery is required. Athletes, parents, and coaches can get assistance from sports doctors to ensure optimal workout routines and injury healing. A sports medicine doctor’s routine responsibilities include things like:

  • Administer medical attention at athletic activities.
  • Identifying and treating sports-related diseases or injuries in athletes or other active people
  • Educate athletes and non-athletes on ways to maintain good health, avoid injuries, exercise, condition, and build strength without risk of negative consequences.
  • Define the circumstances in which athletes should resume playing after an injury.
  • Providing dietary advice to clients
  • Letting coaches and trainers know about an athlete’s medical condition and monitoring the athlete’s recovery.

Sports medicine education and training - How to become a sports medicine physician? h2

To assist you in becoming a sports medicine doctor, follow these steps:
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree: The first stage of becoming a sports medicine doctor is to complete a four-year undergraduate degree program. Although there are no set requirements for medical schools, people who want to work in medicine frequently major in chemistry, biology, or pre-medicine. Students can take in-depth courses in chemistry, biology, arithmetic, and other subjects as part of a pre-medical education. Prepare and study to take up the MCAT exam.
2. Finish medical school. A student can sit for the medical school entrance exam after earning a bachelor’s degree. Many medical school programs require the Medical College Admissions Test or MCAT. The typical score required for admission varies by program.
A doctorate in medicine, such as a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O. ), is required for aspiring sports medicine doctors. Osteopathic programs emphasize preventative care and the musculoskeletal system more than medical doctor programs.
Students attend classes on the human body, patient care, and medical ethics during the first two years of medical school. The following two years are spent in clinical rotations in various settings, where students get experience in patient care and communication, medical record keeping, and teamwork with other doctors.
3. Obtain a medical license. A particular licensure exam is required for each medical degree program. You can become licensed as a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) or a doctor of medicine (M.D.) to practice sports medicine. States often mandate that doctors have a medical license to practice lawfully.
4. Complete a Residency
New doctors must finish a residency program after completing medical school. This lasts for three to four years on average. The residency program for surgeons lasts five years. Individuals interested in a future in orthopedic surgery and those interested in primary care sports medicine will follow different paths during their residency years. Family medicine residents of three years are typically the first step for future primary care sports medicine physicians. Residency opportunities exist in internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, neuromusculoskeletal medicine, and rehabilitation medicine. Orthopedic surgery residents finish their training to become orthopedic surgeons.
5. Enroll in a Fellowship
Physicians interested in working in primary care sports medicine will finish a one- to two-year fellowship in sports medicine after completing their residencies. During their fellowship, they learn more about sports injuries while working as team doctors for a neighborhood high school or college sports team. Additionally, they perform some surgeries with assistance and work in an orthopedic surgery context. Finally, they continue their education in their original field, such as family medicine or pediatrics.
A one- to two-year surgical sports medicine fellowship can be completed by people interested in a career in orthopedic surgery, where they can get additional knowledge about operating to treat sports injuries. Many different sports-related injuries are treated by orthopedic surgeons who have completed specific fellowships.
6. Earn your certification and licensure:
Earn your certification and licensure:
Pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam as a medical doctor.
As a primary care sports medicine physician, you can obtain the Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Sports Medicine. A medical license and certification in your residency specialty are two prerequisites for this degree.
Physicians who specialize in sports medicine and have met all the prerequisites are eligible for certification of enhanced qualification. These extra labels are not required.

How long does it take to become a sports medicine physician? h2 rs2

It takes about 12 years to become a sports medicine physician:
Four years of undergraduate school
Four years of medical school
3-5 years of residency in a specialty such as orthopedic surgery or family medicine
1-2 years of fellowship in sports medicine

Where do sports medicine physicians work? h3rs

Doctors of sports medicine practice in a range of settings, such as:

  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Professional sports teams
  • Colleges and universities
  • Government agencies
  • Military bases
  • Athletic training facilities

Does a sports medicine doctor do surgery h3rs2

While some sports medicine doctors perform surgery, others do not. Orthopedic surgery is a common specialty among surgeons. They carry out a range of operations, including tendon repair, ligament reconstruction, and arthroscopic surgery. Sports medicine doctors that refrain from performing surgery put their attention on non-surgical treatments including physical therapy, injections, and bracing.

Sports Medicine Physician salary - How much do sports medicine doctors make? h3rs2

There was no precise information on sports doctors available, although the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, doctors and surgeons made an average of $218,850 in 2021 (www.bls.gov). According to Salary.com, the median pay for sports medicine professionals was $242,409 as of 2021. Your pay may also change based on your company, your region, and your level of industry expertise.

Is a career in sports medicine worth it? h3

A career in sports medicine can be very rewarding. You will have the opportunity to work with athletes of all ages and abilities and help them achieve their goals and victories. You will also be able to make a real difference in people’s lives by helping them recover from injuries and improve their performance.

Of course, there are also challenges to a career in sports medicine. The hours can be long, and the work can be demanding especially in competitive sports. But if you are passionate about sports and medicine, then a career in sports medicine can be a great fit for you.

What is the best bachelor's degree major for a sports medicine physician? h3 PAA

Although there isn’t a single “best” bachelor’s degree major for a sports medicine doctor, some of the most popular choices are as follows:

  • Physical therapy
  • Biology
  • Athletic training
  • Kinesiology


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