Sports medicine is a healthcare discipline and field of specialization that focuses on several aspects of athletics at various levels. Physicians who specialize in sports medicine usually begin their medical training with primary care or family medicine residency programs before moving on to orthopedics and other special fellowships.
As an advanced and focused medical specialty, sports medicine involves various areas of concentration. The diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries is a major focus, followed by the prevention of such injuries through kinesiology, exercise, nutrition, and behavioral management.
Not all sports medicine specialists are physicians. There are nurses, technicians, researchers, and trainers who study sports science and take practical assignments as part of their higher education goals.
Understanding Sports Science
Competitive sports is a very lucrative global industry. Athletics and exercise impact all communities around the world in different ways. When thinking about professional sports clubs such as the Real Madrid of Spain, it is important to remember that they extend far beyond football. In the specific case of Real Madrid, this is an important business based on professional football, basketball, youth sport academies, branding, and more. An organization such as Real Madrid is highly dependent on the efficient application of sports science for the purpose of achieving success in a very competitive field.
Sports science combines several medical and psychological principles and applies them to athletic practice with the goal of maximizing performance in a healthy manner. The sports scientists at Real Madrid include physicians, mental health practitioners, dieticians, massage therapists, trainers, and technicians who ensure that their professional athletes are always in condition to perform to the best of their abilities.
The Sports Medicine Career Path
There are various career paths for sports science hopefuls to become practitioners. Those who are interested in working as physicians must start at the college level with a scientific major, preferably one that is closely associated with the health sciences. Some universities have already implemented sports science to their curricula, which can be taken by those who wish to attend medical school later.
After medical school, sports medicine hopefuls enter an internship and residency program that will more than likely focus on primary care, family medicine or orthopedics. Fellowship or research programs might follow. Psychiatrists may also follow a similar career path, but they are more likely to enter graduate programs as well. Some enter chiropractic as well.
Technicians who wish to specialize in sports medicine without becoming physicians may do so as therapists, dieticians, nutritional counselors, psychologists, or trainers. Within these technical specialties, trainers are highly sought after by individual athletes who would like to receive one-on-one coaching. Top trainers who understand the intricacies of sports disciplines could encounter great earning potential; for example, a trainer who can increase the field shooting percentage of basketball players is considered a very valuable asset in a professional team.