Health Career Center

Primary Care Sports Medicine

Primary care sports medicine professionals specialize in exercise, injury prevention, and fitness and athletic performance enhancement.

In the past, primary care sports medicine professionals primarily assisted people recovering from injury; however, many now assist collegiate and professional athletes looking to maximize athletic performance and cardiovascular endurance.

According to the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM), sports medicine professionals either specialize in non-surgical exercise or recuperative recovery following surgery on joints, ligaments, and tendons. Many primary care sports medicine physicians work closely with and refer patients to surgeons.

When working with clients, primary care sports medicine professionals also:
  • Evaluate sports injuries and recommend exercise therapies
  • Utilize manual techniques designed to treat common skeletal and muscular problems athletes experience
  • Teach athletes about injury prevention
  • Teach athletes and other clients how proper nutrition can speed up recovery and enhance performance
Working Conditions
Primary care sports medicine physicians are employed by gyms, school athletic programs, and rehabilitation centers. Many are hired by professional sports franchises and college sports teams.

In addition to patient care, these specialists consult with athletic directors, coaches, and athletic trainers about injury prevention and various other issues.

Many non-athletes are meeting with primary care sports medicine physicians. They're consulting with them to lose weight and be active, improve endurance and strength, and enhance health.

Career Training and Education
Before becoming board certified, aspiring primary care sports medicine specialists must complete 3 year residencies in either pediatrics, or internal, emergency, and family medicine.

Following a residency, you must pass the Certification of Added Qualification examination to become board certified in sports medicine. To remain certified, you must obtain continuing education.

While training in sports medicine, you'll be required to complete courses in traumatic injury recuperation, cardiology, nutrition, and exercise physiology. Primary care sports medicine specialists primarily focus on injury prevention, so you'll also be trained how to teach clients about proper nutrition, stretching, and post-exercise cooling down.
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