Being responsible for the upkeep of one’s physical well-being is no easy task. This especially holds true for sports medicine doctors who diagnose, treat, and prevent sports-related injuries and conditions. Any shortcomings on a sports medicine doctor’s end can close the curtains of an athlete’s career.
To guarantee that specialists only provide quality care to athletes and non-athletes alike, they must undergo extensive training. Just what exactly does a sports medicine doctor have to go through to survive this highly competitive medical field? Let’s find out.
Like most jobs, the first step in pursuing a fine career is to get a bachelor’s degree. For aspiring sports medicine doctors, earning a science-oriented bachelor’s degree should be a given. Taking undergraduate classes in biology and chemistry can be highly beneficial. Medical schools require applicants to take specific undergraduate science courses.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, aspiring sports medicine physicians must further extend their knowledge by getting a medical degree. Accepted degrees in medical school can either be a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. The osteopathic program focuses on the musculoskeletal system more than the general medical doctor program.
Medical school requires students to spend four years expanding their knowledge of medicine. The first two years of medical school are allotted to classroom and laboratory courses about basic sciences, patient care, and medical ethics. The latter half centers on clinical rotations. During clinical rotations, students can interact with patients, manage medical records, and interact with physicians. It is also during the clinical rotations when aspiring sports medicine doctors can choose electives. These include orthopedic surgery or a sports medicine sub-specialty.
After finishing medical school, graduates can train in their desired specialization during residency. This doctor-in-training can choose between pursuing a career path in orthopedic surgery or primary care sports medicine. As the name implies, orthopedic surgery concentrates on surgical methods of dealing with orthopedic or sports-related problems. Whereas primary sports medicine emphasizes non-surgical procedures. Residents pursuing a primary care sports medicine career complete an initial three-year residency in family medicine. Aspiring orthopedic surgeons, on the other hand, must complete a three-year residency in orthopedic surgery.
Applying For Fellowship
Aspiring primary care sports medicine physicians must accomplish a fellowship in sports medicine for one or two years. Sports medicine fellowship is open to any doctor who underwent residency. These residencies include internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, and emergency medicine. The fellowship period allows physicians to expand their knowledge on sports medicine by working as team doctors for high school or college sports teams. Through this experience, they can learn about treating sports injuries and various orthopedic rehabilitation methods.
As for orthopedic surgeon fellows, most of their fellowships are dedicated to studying surgical techniques related to sports conditions. Some surgical treatments include replacements and arthroscopy. Like primary care sports medicine, an orthopedic surgery fellowship requires a one- to two-year completion. Both fellowships may also serve as a gateway for pursuing a medical research field.
Licensure and Certification
Passing a national standardized licensing examination is required of any sports medicine doctor, whether in primary care or orthopedic surgery. In the United States, medical doctors have to survive the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). Osteopathic physicians must pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX-USA). Both tests comprise of three parts, with the first two parts given during medical school. The last part is offered within the residency.
After the licensure, physicians with sub-specialties may also earn certifications. Primary care doctors can take the Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in sports medicine. Eligibility includes Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved fellows completion, in addition to the medical license and certification in their specialty. Surgical sports medicine physicians may also take board certification in sports medicine. They usually hold designations for a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon.
Sports Medicine Doctor in San Antonio, TX
Sports medicine is an ever-growing field of specialization in medical science. As more people invest in sports and physical activities, techniques and technologies in specialized sports medicine continue to evolve. Leading this evolution are sports medicine doctors who dedicated a big part of their lives to broadening their knowledge in the field.
At the Center for Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our board-certified sports medicine doctors and orthopedic doctors provide only comprehensive and quality care to everyone seeking a healthier and active lifestyle. Our highly attentive staff are also committed to ensuring a comfortable experience for every patient.
To consult our sports medicine physicians and ortho doctors, call our office at (210) 692-7400. You can also schedule a visit by requesting an appointment online.