What do you think about when you hear the words"sports medicine?"
Is it physical therapy, and the smell of athletic tape? Maybe it conjures up images of those folks on the sidelines dressed in khaki pants at NFL football games running to the field to aid an injured player. Perhaps you think it's only meant for professional athletes and Olympians. While it's true sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness and sports related injuries, there are many applications of it that apply to individuals and conditions from all aspects of life.
Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise. Professionals in sports medicine help with injury prevention, mobility and overall lifelong physical fitness. Anyone can seek a sports medicine physician for help following a sports or exercise related injury.
All sports medical professionals fall into one of two categories: orthopedic surgeons or sports medicine physicians. Both are trained in the care of musculoskeletal problems. The difference is that orthopedic surgeons are trained to perform surgeries and sports medicine physicians are not.
The injuries that sports medicine professionals help with can be divided into three simple categories: 1) upper body, 2) neck, spine and back, 3) lower body. And while there's a plethora of issues that fall into each of those categories, a few common injuries stick out.
HERE ARE 5 COMMON INJURIES THAT SPORTS MEDICINE SPECIALISTS CAN HELP WITH:
1 Achilles Tendinitis: The muscle running along you calf and heel can become swollen.
2 Hamstring Pull - All it takes is some excessive jumping or running to pull a hamstring, the muscle along the backside of your thigh.
3 Concussion: These are traumatic injuries to your head that can affect your cognitive function and can sometimes be fatal.
4 Ankle Sprain: Any sport that involves repetitive foot movement can cause an ankle sprain, causing it to swell.
5 Torn ACL (knee): As the foundation of your knee, overuse or tears of the ACL can take up to nine months to heal.
CAREERS IN SPORTS MEDICINE
Ever wondered what you could do with a degree in sports medicine? We have it all right here for you:
- Athletic Trainer
- Exercise Physiologist
- Sports Medicine Physician (D.O. or M.D.)
If you choose to go to medical school or physical therapy school, the possibilities for a career in sports medicine are endless. Your career path will depend on your interests. Go to, explorehealthcareers.org for more information!