What is a Sports Medicine Physicians?

Do you want to be a

Sports medicine doctors are primary care physicians who treat injuries to the body's joints, muscles or bones. They are trained to address issues associated with nutrition, sports psychology and substance abuse. They may also counsel athletes on injury prevention or work with special populations, such as young children or older adults.

Sports medicine doctors often work with physical therapists to create a rehabilitation plan or with athletic trainers to develop an exercise regimen. Sports medicine doctors do not operate on athletes but can expedite referral to a surgeon when surgery is required.

Required Education

Doctors wishing to specialize in sports medicine must first obtain a 4-year premedical degree. They must then pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) to be admitted into a 4-year medical school. After graduating, sports medicine doctors serve a 2-year residency. Because sports medicine is not recognized as a residency training specialty in the United States, most doctors complete a residency in family or emergency medicine before moving on to a sports medicine fellowship.


Fellowship programs in sports medicine are often offered through a hospital's rehabilitation or sports medicine department. Participants are trained in assessment, evaluation and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries. These programs typically require doctors to log extensive clinical hours with local high school or college athletic departments and sports medicine clinics.

During this time, doctors receive hands-on experience performing preliminary examinations and interpreting the results of x-rays or MRIs. They also learn how to treat head or spinal cord injuries and prescribe protective equipment. Some programs allow doctors to observe orthopedic surgeries.

Upon successful completion of a fellowship program, a sports medicine doctor must sit for the Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) examination. This examination is administered by the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM).

It's Interesting

  • Kamran Abbasi is a British Pakistani doctor, medical editor, and cricket writer. He is currently editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Formerly, Dr. Abbasi was the acting editor of the British Medical Journal and editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
    In addition, he is a cricket writer and blogger for wisden...

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