Sports medicine

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Sports medicine
KT 1000 to measure anterior-posterior laxity of the knee.jpeg
Orthopaedics is a large part of sports medicine, and knee injuries a common theme. Here a subject is having the anterior-posterior laxity of his knee tested.
SystemMusculoskeletal, Cardiovascular
especially athletics
Significant diseasesTemplate:Ublist
Significant testsMusculoskeletal tests
SpecialistSports physician
GlossaryGlossary of medicine

Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise. Although most sports teams have employed team physicians for many years, it is only since the late 20th century that sports medicine has emerged as a distinct field of health care. In some countries, Sports medicine (or Sport and Exercise medicine) is a recognized medical specialty (with similar training and standards to other medical specialties), whereas in other countries it is a special interest area but not an actual specialty.


Sports medicine can refer to the specific medical specialty or subspecialty of Sports Medicine or Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM), which is now well established in many countries. It can broadly also refer to doctors and other paramedical practitioners who work in a more broad setting. The various sports medicine experts often work together as a team to ensure the best recovery plan for the individual. Team members can include orthopedic surgeons, sports physical therapists, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, as well as specialty SEM physicians

Specializing in the treatment of athletes and other physically active individuals, sports and exercise medicine (SEM) physicians have extensive education in musculoskeletal medicine. SEM doctors treat injuries such as muscle, ligament, tendon and bone problems, but may also treat chronic illnesses that can affect physical performance, such as asthma and diabetes. SEM doctors also advise on managing and preventing injuries.

SEM consultants also deliver clinical physical activity interventions, negating the burden of disease directly attributable to physical inactivity and the compelling evidence for the effectiveness of exercise in the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of disease.

European templates for SEM specialisation generally recommend 4 years of specialist training in all of:

  • internal medicine with special emphasis on cardiology, emergency medicine and clinical nutrition
  • orthopaedics and traumatology
  • physical and rehabilitation medicine
  • fellowship at a recognised sports medicine centre.

Establishment of Sports (and Exercise) Medicine as a Medical Specialty

Sports (and Exercise) Medicine (SEM) is now a recognized medical specialty in over 30 countries worldwide, and a recognized subspecialty in many others.

The Italian version of this page Medicina dello sport states that Sports Medicine societies were first established in Switzerland (1922) followed by: Germany (1924), France (1929) and Italy (1929) (Italian Sports Medicine Federation). Sports medicine was established as a specialty in Italy, the first country to do so, in 1958. The European Union of Medical Specialists has defined necessary training requirements for the establishment of the specialty of Sports Medicine in a given European country.[1] It is a goal of the European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations to eventually establish Sports Medicine as a specialty in all European countries.[2]

In Australia and New Zealand, Sport and Exercise Medicine is a stand-alone medical specialty, with the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians being one of Australia's 15 recognized medical specialty Colleges.[3]

An anomaly with respect to (medical) specialty recognition of SEM is that it has not yet occurred in some of the countries with very strong pedigrees in academic publication in the Sports Medicine field, including Sweden, Norway and South Africa. Sports medicine is only a subspecialty field rather than stand-alone specialty in the USA and Canada. All of these countries have very strong research publication records in the SEM field.

Country Specialist sports physician association Fully recognized specialty? (Year) Training requirements General sports medicine association
Australia Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians Yes (2009) 4 year training program Sports Medicine Australia
Austria Austrian Society of Sports Medicine (OSMV) Yes[4] 3 year Diploma
Belarus Belarus Sports Medicine Association Yes[5]
Belgium The Belgian Federation of Sport and Exercise Medicine Subspecialty[5] 1 year
Bosnia Herzegovina Sports Medicine Association Bosnia Herzegovina Yes[5] 5 years
Brazil Brazilian Society of Exercise and Sports Medicine Yes[6][7] 3 years
Bulgaria Bulgarian Scientific Society of Sports Medicine and Kinesitherapy Yes[5] 4 years
Canada Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine Subspecialty
China No[8] Chinese Association of Sports Medicine
Croatia Croatian Sports Medicine Society Subspecialty of Occupational Medicine
Cuba Yes[9]
Czech Republic Czech Society of Sports Medicine Yes[5] 5 years
Denmark No Danish Association of Sports Medicine
Finland Finnish Society of Sports Medicine Yes[5] 5 years
France Sport and Exercise Medicine French Association (SFMES) Yes[4]
Georgia Georgian Association of Sports Medicine Yes[5]
Germany German Federation for Sports Medicine (DGSM) Yes[4]
Hungary National Institute for Sports Medicine[10] Subspecialty[5]
India No Indian Association of Sports Medicine
Ireland Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine Yes[11] (2017)
Israel Israel Society of Sports Medicine Yes[12]
Italy Federazione Medico Sportiva Italiana (FMSI) Yes[4] (1958) 5 years
Japan Japan Medical Association Certified Sports Health Medical System Yes (1994)[13] The Japanese Federation of Physical Fitness & Sports Medicine
Latvia Latvian Sports Medicine Association Yes[5] 4 years
Mexico Yes[9]
Netherlands Netherlands Association of Sports Medicine NASM - VSG Yes[5] (2014) 4 years
New Zealand Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians Yes (1998) 4 years Sports Medicine New Zealand
Norway No Norwegian Sports Medicine Association
Poland Yes[14]
Portugal Sociedade Portuguesa de Medicina Desportiva Yes[5]
Russia Russian Association of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation of Patients and the Disabled Yes[5] 2 years
Serbia Sport Medicine Association of Serbia Yes 3 years
Slovakia Slovak Society of Sports Medicine Subspecialty (6 years)
Slovenia Slovenian Sports Medicine Association Yes[5]
South Africa No[15] South Africa Sports Medicine Association (SASMA)
South Korea Subspecialty[16] Korean Society of Sports Medicine (KSSM)
Spain SMD (Sociedad Española de Medicina del Deporte) Yes 3 years
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Sports Medicine Association Yes[17] 3 years
Sweden No Swedish Society for Physical Activity and Sports Medicine
Switzerland Swiss Society for Sports Medicine (SGSM) Subspecialty[5]
Turkey Turkish Sports Medicine Association Yes[5]
Ukraine Ukranian Sport Medicine and Physical Exercises Specialists Association (USMPESA) Yes[5]
United Kingdom Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK Yes (2006) 4 years British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
United States of America Subspeciality (1994) of:
  • Family Practice
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
1-2 year Fellowships American College of Sports Medicine
Uruguay Yes[9]

Public health

SEM physicians are frequently involved in promoting the therapeutic benefits of physical activity, exercise and sport for the individuals and communities. SEM Physicians in the UK spend a period of their training in public health, and advise public health physicians on matters relating to physical activity promotion.

Sports Medicine.jpg

Common sports injuries

Common sports injuries that can result in seeing a sports medicine specialist are knee and shoulder injuries, fractures, ankle sprains, concussions, cartilage injuries, and more. A sports medicine specialist can also be seen for advice in other areas of health, like nutrition, exercise, supplements, and how to prevent injuries before they occur. A sports medicine specialist works to help make the performance of the athlete more advanced, as well as ensuring their safety while performing the activity.[18]

Allied Health Team Members

Athletic trainers

Athletic trainers are typically part of a sports medicine team in the USA, providing primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion, emergency care, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation to injuries.[19] When an athlete is injured, an athletic trainer is key to treatment and rehabilitation working closely with the athlete throughout rehabilitation.[20]

See also


Further reading

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