What is Sports Medicine? Five Things You Should Know
It’s a moment that causes everyone to hold their breath. An athlete is down. He ran to the basket to make a slam dunk and landed on his ankle. He winces in pain.
On standby, a physician runs onto the court to give an initial assessment. Crowds from both sides cheer when the player bravely stands up and leaves the court with assistance from health care professionals.
This is what most people think of when they hear the term “sports medicine.” However, you may be surprised to learn that this medical specialty is about much more than treating injuries. Sports medicine also includes helping athletes maximize their performance; cope with chronic illnesses such as diabetes; and learn more about nutrition and healthier lifestyles.
At Raleigh Medical Group, we are excited to be able to offer our patients comprehensive sports medicine services that are perfect for professional athletes and “weekend warriors” alike. We’re proud to be the official sports physicians of North Carolina State University Athletics.
To fully comprehend what sports medicine is, there are five things you need to know:
1. Sports medicine specialists must undergo extensive, additional training.
Physicians who specialize in sports medicine (such as our own Dr. Franklin) must be board-certified and have one to two years of additional training in sports medicine. Because sports medicine is recognized by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties and by Medicare, physicians must pass a national sports medicine certification exam.
2. Sports medicine primarily focuses on nonsurgical techniques.
While orthopedic surgeons also treat sports injuries, roughly 90 percent of all sports injuries do not require surgery. [link to American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. Therefore, sports medicine focuses on maximizing the benefits of nonsurgical treatment, which can help patients recover faster. However, if surgery is needed, a sports medicine specialist can make a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.
3. Sports medicine doesn’t only involve physicians.
Sports medicine involves health care professionals from several different specialties, including:
- Rehabilitation specialists
- Athletic trainers
- Sports psychologists
- Physical therapists
4. Sports medicine is about more than treating injuries.
The discipline incorporates strategies to help athletes refine their performance and achieve maximum benefits through strength training, sports psychology, nutritional education and customized exercise regimens.
5. Sports medicine involves treating some of the most common athletic injuries.
These injuries include:
- Knee injuries, including ACL tears
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow
- Torn rotator cuffs
- Shin splints
Extensive sports medicine services are available at Raleigh Medical Group
We understand sports medicine. We have decades of experience in treating local college athletes. We are currently taking sports medicine patients at our Cary Medical Group and Raleigh Medical Group on a referral basis. Contact us to schedule an appointment.