What is a Sports Medicine Physician?
A sports medicine physician, also known as a physiatrist, is, broadly speaking, a sub-specialty in clinical medicine. This means that anyone who identifies themselves as a sports medicine physician or physiatrist has undergone all the rigorous education and training required of medical doctors in Canada, in addition to further training pursuant to specialization. Specifically, the following qualifications are generally required as a minimum for any sports medicine physician:
A bachelor’s of science degree
In Quebec, completion of a college program and one year of pre-medicine university studies is usually required.
- Graduation from an approved medical school and specific specialty training are required.
Completion of the certifying examinations of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
Licensing by the provincial or territorial licensing authority are required.
Four to five years of specialty residency training are required.
Two years of sub specialty training may also be required.
Anyone with an interest in becoming a Sports Medicine physician must first be a graduate of a recognized medical school. At this time, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons does not recognize Sport Medicine as a specialty. However, the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM) Diploma in Sport Medicine serves to identify to the public and the profession physicians with particular skill and special expertise in the area of Sport Medicine. The diploma, which can be identified with the nominal “Dip. Sport Med.,” is recognized in many provincial and international jurisdictions as the requirement to practice sport medicine. Physicians may further their education by taking electives in medical schools/residencies, post-graduate training or fellowships.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Sports Medicine Physician?
A sports medicine physician will most likely have spent, at minimum, fourteen or fifteen years in education and specialty training, and often several years or more than that. With limited exceptions (the province of Quebec being one such) they will have begun their education with a bachelor’s of science degree, most likely in a field such as biology or kinesiology, although many other options are available. In most cases this degree takes four years to complete. Following that, they will have completed a medical degree. While a small number of Canadian Universities offer this degree as a three-year program lacking interruption in the summer, in most cases it also is a four year program. Following graduation, the aspiring sports medicine physician will have enrolled in a medical specialty residency accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, for a period of five years. Finally, should they wish to be accredited by the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine, it is likely that the physician will have spent a period of some years practicing medicine and continuing their education before completing the exam.
What is Sports Medicine?
Sports medicine was originally a specialty that diagnosed and treated activity-related musculoskeletal injuries, that is, injuries to muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, bones and joints. Today, however, the definition of the discipline has become much broader, ranging from managing chronic illnesses that affect the ability of individual’s to maintain an active lifestyle, to monitoring concussions in professional athletes, to providing psychological support and more. While a major focus is still the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, sports medicine is especially concerned with non-surgical approaches to these injuries, and requires in-depth understanding of nutrition, exercise physiology, exercise prescription, internal medicine, pregnancy, exercise and biomechanics. The specific duties of a sports medicine physician vary widely depending on their individual background and the specific terms and circumstances of their employment, but the following is a general list of the duties for which they are qualified:
Help athletes maximize their performance levels.
Help athletes prevent injuries.
May treat chronic health conditions that can affect athletic performance.
- May suggest diet plans and exercise programs.
- Liaise with coaches, dieticians, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches and other personnel.
- Plan treatment and rehabilitation for their patients.
Diagnose and treat diseases and physiological or psychiatric disorders.
- Order and interpret laboratory tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, bone scans, CT, MRI, arthograms, and other diagnostic procedures.
Prescribe medication and treatment and refer patients for surgery.
Act as consultants to other physicians.
May conduct medical research.
Where do Sports Medicine Physicians Work?
Sports medicine physicians typically work in sports medicine clinics, often alongside other professionals such as physiotherapists, athletic therapists, sports psychologists and kinesiologists. They may also be employed or contracted by sports teams and organizations. They may also volunteer their services for amateur sports teams and organizations.
Travis R who is a Canadian likes more in research activities. Currently he is doing his research in Health science especially in Sports Medicine. He likes to share all his experiences and views through his articles.
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