With the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896 and increased participation in sports and training for sport, the field of sports medicine has expanded. There are now a number of specialist careers with highly developed clinical skills that support the care and training needs of athletes and physically active people in general.
The field of sports medicine includes the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of medical problems affecting those who participate in sports and exercise, whether as casual athletes or competitive athletes. The practice of sports medicine is also concerned with enhancing performance and fitness in healthy individuals by promoting optimal nutrition, rest and recovery.
Physicians with specialization in sports medicine can become team physicians for a variety of interscholastic, intercollegiate, and professional teams. In addition to the physician, a team usually includes orthopedic surgeons, certified athletic trainers (ATC), physical therapists or kinesiotherapists, and sports psychologists. Other professionals, such as dietitians, coaches, dentists and eye doctors, may be involved in certain situations.
A major difference between sports medicine and other healthcare practices is the emphasis on preventing injury and guiding patients back to full activity quickly and safely. This is accomplished by incorporating the latest advances in rehabilitation and equipment, monitoring for overuse injuries, and educating patients on proper technique in both physical and sports activities.
The goal of a sports doctor is to help their patient recover as fast as possible so they can return to the sport or other activity that they love. This often involves teaching patients about proper techniques and addressing issues like diet and nutrition.