The medical field of sports medicine encompasses a broad spectrum of professionals who are concerned with the impact of exercise, training, and sports activities on healthy and unhealthy people of all ages. This multidisciplinary field includes physicians, physical therapists, psychologists, and nutritionists who specialize in the treatment of injuries related to athletic activity. These practitioners help patients recover from acute traumas like sprains and dislocations as well as from chronic overuse injuries such as tendonitis.
Besides treating injuries, sports medicine professionals work to prevent them from occurring. They advise patients on the proper way to perform specific exercises and warn against activities that might lead to certain types of injury. They also teach athletes and non-athletes alike how to maintain a safe exercise regimen. This is accomplished by recommending a regular schedule of moderate or vigorous physical exertion for healthy adults (60 minutes daily of moderate exercise and 30 minutes of intense exercise for youths).
A career in sports medicine requires specialized training, certification, or licensure. Physicians in primary care, pediatrics, or orthopedic medicine often serve as team physicians for competitive sports teams at interscholastic, collegiate, and professional levels. They usually work in conjunction with a physical therapist or kinesiotherapist, and a strength-and-conditioning specialist. Allied health professionals such as nutritionalists, psychology counselors, and registered clinical exercise physiologists are also valuable members of a comprehensive sports medicine team. In addition, some obstetricians and gynecologists have been involved in the study of sports medicine and exercise.