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FeaturedHealth and Fitness

Everything You Need to Know About Sports Medicine Specialists

Sports medicine in Melbourne also referred to as SEM (Sports and Exercise Medicine), deals with physical fitness as well as the prevention and treatment of sports and exercise-related injuries. This branch of medicine has the objective of keeping people safe while pursuing their goals of training.

Though most sports teams have always used team physicians, it was only in the late 20th century that sports medicine became a unique and separate field of medicine. Sports medicine is recognised as a medical speciality in most countries, with non-surgical sports medicine physicians dominating the scene.

Specialists in sports medicine treat several physical conditions comprising acute trauma like dislocations, sprains, strains, and fractures. They also do treatment of injuries caused by chronic overuse, such as over-training syndrome, degenerative diseases, and tendonitis.

Sports medicine mixes education in general medicine with specific principles of sports psychology, sports nutrition, biomechanics, orthopaedics, exercise physiology etc. A team of sports medicine comprises non-medical and medical specialists such as surgeons, physicians, sports psychologists, athletic trainers, nutritionists, physical therapists, personal trainers, and coaches.

Specialists in Sports Medicine

Specialists in sports medicine concentrate on functional, therapeutic, and medical aspects of exercise and sports, working directly with athletes to boost their overall performance in sports. The title of specialist in sports medicine does not always imply that he or she is a physician. It may be used to refer to any kind of discipline for which there is the use of sports medicine practices.

In sum, sports medicine is not just a speciality on its own. It includes extra training focused on medical issues related to exercise and sports after completing foundational certification.

Non-physician professionals working in sports medicine include:

  • Physical therapists: help persons recover from injuries.
  • Certified athletic trainers: such professionals offer rehab programs to help athletes to regain strength and prevent injury in the future.
  • Nutritionists: help with nutrition and weight management combined with physical recovery or training.

Sports Medicine Physicians

Such physicians are medical doctors specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of exercise or sports-related injuries. Though many physicians work exclusively with athletes, most will treat anyone with sports-like injuries.

These physicians are typically certified first in orthopaedics, family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine or paediatrics before embarking on a two-year fellowship in sports medicine. When they complete the latter, they will gain a CAQ (Certificate of Added Qualifications) in Sports Medicine.

Many physicians handle non-operative conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Others are orthopaedic surgeons who focus on the treatment of sports-related injuries. Apart from joint, bone and muscle injuries, a physician in sports medicine will be adept at treating any related conditions.

For instance, they handle conditions like acute and chronic illness, head injuries, prevention of injuries, supplements & nutrition and help to take return-to-play decisions by injured or sick athletes.

Some of the conditions treated by such primary care sports medicine doctors include dislocations, strains & sprains, fractures, ligament injuries, tendinitis, apophysitis, over-use injuries, exercise-related asthma, cartilage injuries, concussion, nutritional injuries, eating disorders, special needs, heat illness etc.

Sports Medicine Surgeons

They are orthopaedic surgeons specialising in sports medicine. They manage, treat, and diagnose conditions like deformities of the spine and limb, abnormalities in gait, infections in joints and bones, dislocations, sprains & strains, fractures, ligament injuries, tendinitis, over-use injuries, injuries in cartilage etc.

Sports Psychologists

The specific branch of psychology focusing on the emotional and mental needs of sports persons or sports enthusiasts is called sports psychology. It is not rare for professional sports teams to hire the services of a full-time sports psychologist to help athletes to perform better for successful outcomes in games.

Since sportspersons have to face much stress unique to their game, sports psychologists can improve their mindset and regulate anxiety. The latter will use goal setting, stress management and psychotherapy for patients. They will make use of psychological skills and tools to aid sports persons in keeping a mental balance during recovery from a serious injury.

Certified Athletic Trainers

The sports team may seek the services of a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC), who will be the first person to assess one’s injury. They help with the evaluation of injuries, first aid, initial care and referring one to specialists for treatment and rehabilitation. They can aid in organising programs for injury prevention, such as the use of special equipment, braces or tapes.

Physical Therapists

The sports medicine doctor may refer one to a physical therapist to aid one in recovering from an injury. The latter has at least a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, and many have masters or doctoral degrees in the use of the special technique for treating musculoskeletal injuries.

These include therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, massage, electric stimulation, and ultrasound. Doctors tie up with physical therapists to set up individual programs of exercise for basic fitness and help players with sports-specific skills. Certain physical therapists like physio in Lilydale are certified as trainers for athletes and may provide both services.


Such professionals have a doctorate in chiropractic medicine following four years of training for post-graduation in treating pain, injuries, or musculoskeletal conditions. Most of them focus on issues of the spine and treat pain or injury.

In sum, these are all the top facts about sports medicine in Melbourne. Professionals practising in this field may be helped further by massage therapists, personal trainers, acupuncture specialists or sports nutritionists.

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