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Careers In Sports Medicine

Aug 17, 2007
Sports medicine offers a challenging field of work varying from injury prevention to treatment and recovery. In addition to the many medical career choices, there are many developing fields of alternative sports therapy.

When a player suddenly faints and falls while playing, there are a few people that try to revive him or put him on a stretcher and take him off the field. This job is little known by spectators. Among the group could be a doctor, a fitness instructor, or an orthopedist. All are branches of the same stream of medicine, known as sports medicine.

In the world of sports, an athlete's fitness and physical well being play a major role in his sports career. Not only his diet and fitness but also his medical capabilities to overcome stress are winning factors. Diagnosing the right ailment and taking care of the performance of the athlete is the basic job of the sports medical professional.

Let's take a look at this career in a broader perspective.


- Preferably an individual with science background with additional knowledge of sports
- High school diploma (with science subject)
- 4 years' bachelor's degree in science or science subjects in the curriculum
- MDs and surgeons have additional requirements based on their specialty

Specialization In Sports Medicine

There are different specializations in the field of sports medicine; for example, exercise physiology, physical therapy, orthopedics, sports nutrition, biomechanics, etc. These specializations have different requirements. For example, in orthopedics, a master's degree is required.

Major areas of specialization include:

- Coaching
- Science of Exercise
- Physical, as well as Athletic Training
- Health & Physical Fitness Promotion

The name of the course and its curriculum varies across colleges and universities.


Some of the prominent jobs in the field of sports or exercise science are as follows:

- Dietician: The job of a dietician is to plan the diet for an athlete and decide on his intake of essential nutrients. The dietician should have an American Dietetics Association (ADA) approved internship and a certification.

- Fitness instructor: A fitness instructor works either in the gym or on a regular job for a sports team. He works along with the fitness team, which includes the physical therapists, coaches, exercise physiologists, etc.

- Exercise physiologist: They are the personnel who monitor the effect of exercise on the athlete's body. The exertion, good and bad effects of the same are responsible for the athlete's health.

- Medical Physician: A medical physician is qualified to diagnose and treat an athlete in case of an emergency. Depending on their qualifications, medical physicians are hired. They mostly work in the medical team or are practicing doctors in hospitals.

Biomechanist, occupational physiologist, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist are some of the other jobs available.


Salary differs from profession to profession, and the experience one has in the field. Generally professionals make more money when they specialize in specific areas of practice.

Tips On A Career In Sports Medicine

- Include science subjects like biology, physics, and anatomy as part of your school/college curriculum.
- Do background research on the available colleges and their costs.
- Decide on the college according to your area of specialization.
- Develop contacts with sports teams and instructors; it is easier to know about the various streams of sports medicine through them. It is also good for networking purposes, which will be helpful while getting an internship/trainee job with a sports club or team.
- If you enjoyed playing the sport, you will also enjoy attending to the players. Developing a liking for the game will also heighten your interests.

Like any other career, sports medicine requires education, experience and dedication to excellence. The field of sports medicine is growing, and even though it is a part of the discipline of medicine, it is different and can offer a lively environment to work in. If you enjoy sports, you should consider sports medicine.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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