Sports medicine is a special field of care within the health industry that focuses mainly on injury or prevention of injury to those involved in sports, fitness fields and various forms of recreation. The field may be practices by a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) to provide a wide range of services.
Fields of Sports Medicine
A medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or even a surgeon may specialize in one or more fields of sports medicine practice, including:
Sports Medicine Diagnosis and Treatment
Sports Medicine Injury Prevention
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
The practice of sports medicine is often called clinical sports medicine. Diagnosis and treatment of sports injuries covers mostly conditions of the musculoskeletal body systems and the management of treatment for such injuries. The basic fundamentals of this specialty involve the assessment and diagnosis of a sports injury and managing the injury, promoting healing and preventing further injury. Injury prevention is also an important aspect of the field of study. Medical professionals in this field may educate coaches, professional athletes and provide community based education for recreational departments.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation involves the regaining of strength and mobility in an injured body area or part following a sports or recreational injury. Physical therapy is designed to help individuals regain strength without furthering injury using a variety of methods, including but not limited to aquatic therapy and electrical stimulation. The goals and type of treatment any individual might undergo is determined by the type and seriousness of the injury.
Kinesiology is the study of human movement in relation to how the body functions. It can be applied in several different ways, including biomechanics, physiotherapy, and exercise physiology as well as psychomotor behavior and training. Human kinetics, such as the application of knowledge of kinesiology in the sports medicine field, is not the same thing as "Applied Kinesiology", which continues to be controversial as an alternative medicine treatment that is similar in nature to the field of chiropractic medicine. A trained kinesiologist may be involved or specialize in:
Function and performance
Recreation and exercise
Enhanced movement and function
The main goal of kinesiologist in the sports medicine field is to work with people who have been injured in sports and work with them to overcome disabling injuries. They often work with physiotherapists and are involved in creating plans of action that encourage individuals to regain optimal function and mobility.
Costs of Sports Medicine Treatments
Depending on the location, type and severity of an injury and the diagnosis and treatment of it, physical therapy and rehabilitative services can cost tens of thousands of dollars for individuals. In some cases, a health insurance policy may cover some costs, but not all. In the United States, limitations and exclusions on policy coverage may severely inhibit full recovery. Medical travelers venturing to locations in Mexico and South America, Asia or Europe may save thousands of dollars on the cost of physical therapy, rehabilitation, sports massage and additional treatments in the field as per recommendations by a physician.
Finding a Sports Medicine Professional
Like in other fields of medicine, sports medicine professionals, regardless of specialty, should be trained, certified and licensed in their area of care. Proof of membership in an organization, association or board of experts should be available upon request. In the United States, certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine is required of professionals, and practicing physicians in other countries should also belong to such organizations that monitor, define and qualify training and expertise in specialties associated with this field.