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Sports Medicine

Integration of Sports and Modern Medicine

Modern medicine has found its ways in different areas of living. Aside from just improving the healthcare of sick patients or the medically vulnerable population, modern medicine has evolved extensively in preventive care and performance-enhancing care. These care types aim to swiftly set the body on a tract to quick recovery or entirely prevent a breakdown. High-performance athletics and contact sports are considered the areas of global sports that need exposure to medicine. Athletes in this sports category are continuously exposed to stress and on-field strain that heavily put pressure on normal metabolism, tissue healing, and movement of the skeletal system.

A picture of healthy food and a skipping rope

Evolution of Sports Medicine

As it stands, sports medicine and prolotherapy have become globally known; however, only a few know how it all started. It is considered a specialty in modern medicine, but this branch of medicine is rooted in ancient practices and ideas. As far back as the 5th century, Greek physicians had developed a protocol of care for athletes in the Olympics. Gladiators and sportsmen were commonly assigned local physicians for injury management. With time, this practice evolved from injury management to accommodate performance-enhancing drills. A disciple of Hippocrates –Herodicus –is often credited with first developing a set of therapeutic exercises performed during the Olympiads. This practice continued slowly through the 1700s until the 1800’s when it received a major boost.

The Olympics were reintroduced, and athletes needed a specialized branch of medicine to develop and monitor injury management techniques and performance enhancement in sports. Since this time, sports medicine has greatly improved. In 1912, a conference in Germany prompted the Association of International Medico-Sportive Association –a body providing medical coverage for athletes in the Olympics. By 1950, the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) had been established to enhance quality healthcare delivery for active athletes. The American College of Sports Medicine establishment expanded the frontiers of sports medicine by encouraging research and education on sports-specific medicine. The American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine was also founded in 1972 to help orthopedic surgeons develop better techniques in managing and preventing sports injuries. The American Board of Emergency Medicine.

Sports Medicine –Valuation and Specialties

In the last decade, sports medicine’s scope has been redefined to include physical fitness, injury prevention, and emergency treatment. In 2019, the market was valued at $8.1billion. By 2027, it is expected to reach a projection of $15.2, growing at a steady CAGR of 8.2%. Revenue growth and practice expansion in the field is expected to be propelled by the rising incidence of sports injury, the increasing fitness demands of a young population, and the growing demand for minimally invasive repair surgeries for quick injury healing in athletes. As expected, this rapidly expanding branch of medicine has created a space for professional careers focused mainly on improving physical fitness. The most popular specialties in sports medicine include:

  1. Sports Medicine Physicians

Sports medicine physicians are licensed experts trained in emergency medicine and the management of sports –or exercise–related injuries. It is common for sports clubs to have personal physicians offering specialized injury care for athletes. Many sports physicians do not limit service delivery to only athletes but also to individuals with an exercise regimen. A preliminary certification in family medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, or orthopedics is needed to qualify as a sports physician.

Qualified physicians earn a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Sports Medicine from designated regulatory bodies. These  physicians are experts in non-operative musculoskeletal care. Beyond injuries to the skeletal framework, these physicians also trained to treat concussions, manage acute illness in athletes, prevent injuries, and improve performance enhancement in athletes. Orthopedic surgeons also specialize in optimized surgical care for sports-related injuries.

  1. Sports Psychologist

As much as physical stress on the field of play, sportsmen are also exposed to a lot of mental stress. The demands of competitive performance and a desirable result are often liked to episodes of frustration, depression, and other forms of mental breakdown in modern sports. Sports psychologists are trained to offer supportive care for the emotional needs of athletes. As a specialty, team psychologists conduct psycho-therapy for athletes and prepare the team for competitive play while solving emotional challenges that can impede performance.

Psychologists have developed multiple care protocols in the management of anxiety, fright, and depression in active sportsmen. These protocols improve focus, team results, and emotional balance. The main charge of a sports psychologist is to establish a professional relationship with the athletes in a bid to directly manage their mental health. On average, a sports psychologist reportedly earns an excess of $80,000 yearly, with top earners raking in over $100,000 annually.

  1. Sports Science Specialist

Sports specialists are career professionals involved in scientific research, training, and education in all areas of sports medicine. Experts in this field are trained in the fundamental principles of anatomy, physiology, psychology, and product development as they affect athletics. Science specialists in sports are also involved in the development of supplements, legal performance-enhancing substances, and in the manufacturing of aids and products that improve competitive performance. This specialty is considered the most diverse of all as it cuts across human medicine product science, technical research, material development, and psychology.

  1. Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers are some of the most popular professionals in sports medicine. These trainers are certified experts in exercise and body movement skills that directly affect athletic performance. They develop custom drills and movements and draft a personalized exercise regimen for every sportsman on the team. By closely working with the sports physician and psychologists, athletic trainers better improve every team member’s competitive-readiness.

  1. Orthopedic Nurse

Orthopedic nursing care is fast gaining relevance in sports medicine. As registered nurses, these experts specialized in enhancing injury management by providing routine inpatient and outpatient medical care. They apply casts, dress wounds, administer drugs monitor vital signs and guide the injured sportsman on the road to recovery. After orthopedic surgery, orthopedic nurses draft a personalized follow-up care plan aimed at improving tissue healing. On average, an orthopedic nurse reportedly earns a median annual salary of about £30,000.

A sports medicine nurse

Other career experts in sports medicine include kinesiotherapists, strength and conditioning specialists, biomechanists, nutritionists, massage therapists, and chiropractors. The future potentials of sports medicine are limitless. As long as sports remain relevant, this branch of modern medicine is expected to keep expanding.

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