Careers in sports medicine (2023)

The AOSSM is made up of nearly 4,000 orthopedic sports medicine professionals

For more than 50 years, we have supported orthopedic sports medicine professionals in their efforts to prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries that occur in competitive and recreational athletes. We provide education, best practices, and a professional community for our members to advance their careers and the profession as a whole.

About careers in sports medicine

The sports medicine industry includes a number of healthcare professionals focused on preventing and treating injuries among athletes and active people of all ages and abilities. Read on to learn more about the wide variety of positions in the sports medicine field.

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professional oportunities

AOSSM regularly shares job opportunities available in orthopedic sports medicine. These include announcements available through monthly issues ofamerican journal of sports medicine. Check out the latest sports medicine jobs.

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If you are interested in posting a new job opportunity on the AOSSM job board, please contact Sage Publishing for additional information.

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Caring for an athlete requires the effort of a team of many people with a wide range of knowledge and backgrounds.

Click on the positions below to see more details about each role.

Sports Medicine Physicians

  • The team doctor is the athlete's advocate in all health-related matters, supervising and coordinating medical care. Injury prevention is the primary goal, but when injuries do occur, the athlete is evaluated by the team doctor to determine the proper diagnosis and treatment. Your duties include, but are not limited to, the following responsibilities:

    • Pre-Participation Physical Exams
    • Prevention, evaluation and management of injuries
    • Return-to-play decisions for the athlete injured during the season
    • Medical coverage of sporting events
    • Strength and conditioning training
    • substance abuse
    • Special populations (ie youth, elderly, disabled)
    • Educate and advise coaches, administrators, and family members on sports-related medical issues.

    Team physicians sometimes rely on the expertise of sports medicine physicians who fall into two categories, the orthopedic surgeon and the primary care physician. These groups complement each other by working together to address common sports problems, including:

    • Acute injuries, such as fractures, ligament tears, and cartilage damage.
    • Chronic overuse conditions, such as tendinitis, stress fractures, and bursitis
    • Mild traumatic brain injury (concussion)
    • spinal cord injuries
  • Orthopedic surgeons are physicians specially trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal problems, devoting much of their efforts to helping athletes recover with non-surgical measures. After carefully examining the injured athlete, the orthopedist may order and interpret tests such as X-rays, bone scans, or MRIs. Treatment may include medication, physical therapy, or in some cases surgery. All orthopedic surgeons completed a bachelor's degree, four years of medical school, and a five-year residency. In addition, many team orthopedists have completed an additional year of training devoted explicitly to sports medicine.

  • Primary care physicians evaluate and treat athletes' non-operative medical problems. Examples of treatment include heat illness, exercise-induced asthma, concussion, minor ligament sprains, muscle strains, and eating disorders. Most primary care physicians have training in the diagnosis of sports-related musculoskeletal problems. These physicians have residency training in family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, physical medicine, rehabilitation, and pediatrics and choose to pursue additional training in sports medicine. These professionals have completed graduation, four years of medical school, and at least three years of residency. Additionally, many gained additional experience through one- or two-year fellowships in sports medicine.

Allied Athlete Health

  • A medical assistant requires a bachelor's degree with demonstrated competency in scientific courses and direct patient care experiences, such as working as an emergency medical technician or patient care technician. The full-time curriculum is two to three years in length and consists of face-to-face (preclinical) work in basic medical sciences, followed by clinical rotations in all areas of medicine under the guidance of a precepting physician. Following this formal curriculum, certification is required as a prerequisite to practice in the individual's chosen field of medicine. A physician assistant pursuing a career in sports medicine works with a physician or surgeon who specializes in that field. Certified Physician Assistants must demonstrate continuing competency through mandatory continuing education every two years and recertification every six years.

  • Many teams employ physical therapists to rehabilitate athletes recovering from injuries or medical illnesses resulting from neuromusculoskeletal deficiencies. They work in hospitals, clinics, outpatient offices, private practices, and home care programs, usually under the direction of a physician. Some physical therapy programs offer four-year undergraduate degrees, while others require a bachelor's degree followed by a master's degree in physical therapy. An internship is usually part of the educational program.

  • Athletic trainers are involved in injury prevention through the implementation of strength and conditioning programs. They administer rehabilitative exercise regimens and apply therapeutic modalities to enhance the healing process. They also have experience using braces and braces to prevent injury or allow the athlete to compete safely with an injury. A certified athletic trainer requires a four-year bachelor's or master's degree with significant additional time spent covering athletic events to gain hands-on experience.

  • The importance of nutrition is critical to the optimal performance of an athlete. The registered dietitian typically completes a four-year undergraduate curriculum in food science, although advanced degrees are also available.

  • A sports psychologist is often instrumental in helping athletes deal with sports injuries and, in some cases, the need to discontinue participation due to health concerns. A person entering this field typically completes a bachelor's degree in psychology and progresses to a master's degree and finally a doctorate in psychology with specialized training in sports psychology.

  • Coaches teach athletes how to compete using proper techniques to improve performance and prevent injury. Most coaches will be trained in first aid and injury prevention, and will have a lot of hands-on experience treating sports-related injuries. In the younger age groups, the trainer is usually the trainer and is responsible for first aid, devices and protective equipment. College and professional team coaches have had lengthy internships in their field. The number of years it takes to reach this level varies greatly.

Indirect care of athletes

  • Physiology is the study of the functions of the human body and how physiological systems respond to exercise. Scientific research on exercise has been used to improve sports performance and protect the health of athletes. A person entering this field will complete a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Biological or Biochemical or Physical Education and may progress to a Master's or even a Ph.D. in exercise science.

  • A biomedical engineer may be involved in designing safer and more functional playing surfaces and equipment, joint orthotics to enable athletic performance and prevent injury during the rehabilitation process, or surgical instruments and implants to help orthopedic surgeons treat muscle injuries. and skeletal. A biomedical engineer completes a four-year bachelor's degree and may continue with a master's or doctoral degree.

  • An epidemiologist studies the incidence, prevalence, and control of disease or injury in populations. The epidemiologist works closely with other physicians or researchers in clinical or biological studies to track disease or injury trends through mathematical modeling and computer statistics, playing a key role in the formulation and implementation of public health policy. An epidemiologist completes a four-year bachelor's degree and usually a master's or doctoral degree.

Pathways to a career in sports medicine

If you are interested in pursuing a career in sports medicine, the following steps may help make your decision easier, especially during high school and college:

  • Take classes in first aid, anatomy and physiology.
  • Participate as a student coach in the school's athletic department.
  • Find sports medicine professionals in your area and spend some time following up
  • Participate in sports medicine research.
  • Attend congresses or meetings related to sports medicine
  • Volunteer to help cover local sporting events

For 50 years, we have supported orthopedic sports medicine professionals in their efforts to prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries that occur in competitive and recreational athletes. We provide education, best practices, and a professional community for our members to advance their careers and the profession as a whole.

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