What is a sports medicine specialist?

A physician with significant specialized training in both the treatment and prevention of illness and injury. The Sports Medicine Specialist helps patients maximize function and minimize disability and time away from sports, work or school.

He/she a physician who:

  • Is board certified in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.
  • Has obtained one to two years of additional training in Sports Medicine through one of the accredited Fellowship (subspecialty) Programs in Sports Medicine.
  • Has passed a national Sports Medicine certification allowing them to hold a Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine.
  • Further adds to their expertise through participation in continuing medical education activities and recertification via re-examination every ten years. This rigorous process was instituted to distinguish certified Sports Medicine Specialists from other physicians without specialized training.
  • Is a leader of the Sports Medicine team, which also may include specialty physicians and surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, coaches, other personnel, and the athlete.

Sports Medicine is a recognized subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties and by Medicare.

What is the difference between a Sports Medicine Specialist and an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Both are well trained in musculoskeletal medicine. Sports Medicine Specialists specialize in the non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopedic surgeons are also trained in the operative treatment of these conditions. However, approximately 90% of all sports injuries are non-surgical. The Sports Medicine Specialist can maximize non-operative treatment, guide appropriate referrals to physical and occupational therapies, and if necessary expedite referral to an orthopedic/sports surgeon.

What are common examples of musculoskeletal problems?

  • Acute injuries (such as ankle sprains, muscle strains, knee & shoulder injuries, and fractures)
  • Overuse injuries (such as rotator cuff and other forms of tendonitis, stress fractures)
  • Medical and injection therapies for osteoarthritis

What are common examples of non-musculoskeletal problems?

  • Concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) and other head injuries
  • Athletes with chronic or acute illness (such as infectious mononucleosis, asthma or diabetes)
  • Nutrition, supplements, ergogenic aids, and performance issues
  • Exercise prescription for patients who want to increase their fitness
  • Injury prevention
  • “Return to play” decisions in the sick or injured athlete
  • Recommendations on safe strength training and conditioning exercises
  • Healthy lifestyle promotion

How much training does it take to become a Sports Medicine Specialist?

Typical Years of Training for Sports Medicine Specialists:

Undergraduate……………………….….4 years

Medical School……….……………..…..4 years (MD/DO)

Residency………………….……………….3-4 years

Fellowship……………………………….…1-2 years

Total……………………………………….…12-14 years

Typical Medical School/Residency/Fellowship Hours:

Lecture Hours (pre-clinical)…………2,700

Study Hours (pre-clinical)……….…..3,000

Residency Hours…………………………9,000-13,000

Fellowship Hours………………………..2,500-7,500

Total…………………………………….…….17,200-26,200

Learn more about Dr. Erik Brand

 What is a sports medicine specialist?

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