What is “Sports Medicine” ?

“Sports Medicine” is a phrase that gets used frequently by orthopedic surgeons, medical physicians, personal trainers, Athletic Trainers, massage therapists, dietitians, nutritionists, chiropractors, exercise physiologists and I’m probably missing a few… but what does “Sports Medicine” really mean?

Brukner & Kahn’s Clinical Sports Medicine, probably the best textbook on the subject, defines sports medicine as the scope of medical practice focused on:

  • Prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries that occur during physical activity.
  • Prevention, diagnosis and management of medical conditions that occur during or after physical activity.
  • Promotion and implementation of of regular physical activity in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of chronic diseases of lifestyle.

With a scope so broad, clearly this is a multi-disciplinary field that is contributed to by many types of professionals.

Sports medicine is a field of medicine focused on getting people back to a high level of sport and athletic performance in a rapid, safe and sustainable way. “Motrin and take it easy” would not be an acceptable rehab plan for a professional athlete, if it wouldn’t be acceptable to you, then you could benefit from consulting a sports medicine physician.

In the past, sports medicine was very focused on the health needs of professional and other sports teams. As the number of sports medicine physicians has grown, this type of expertise is becoming increasingly available to recreational, independent/ semi-professional athletes and regular people with a passion for being active.

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