The Sports Medicine Patient Advisor was designed to give health professionals a resource to make handouts to give to their patients. It soon became popular with coaches, athletes and parents. This edition contains a special introductory section for these readers.
In this sports medicine book, coaches, athletes and parents can learn about common sports injuries and how to safely return to participation. It is important to remember that this information is not a substitute for medical care and that an injured athlete needs to get appropriate attention from the sports medicine team. This team can include an athletic trainer, primary care physician with training in sports medicine, orthopedic surgeon, additional specialists, mid-level providers or therapists. In some cases it may involve a nutritionist or a mental health professional. Integral to the “team concept” is participation by the athlete, their family, the athletic trainer and the coach. It is important that coaches, parents and athletes have these medical problems explained to them by a member of that team.
. . . How to use this book for Health Professionals
What is the sports medicine team?
The ideal sports medicine team provides comprehensive care of the athlete. The sports medicine team can include an athletic trainer, primary care physician with training in sports medicine, orthopedic surgeon, additional medical specialists, and physical therapists. In some cases it may involve a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, massage therapist, chiropractor, nutritionist or a mental health professional. Integral to the “team concept” is the participation by the athlete, their family, the athletic trainer and the coach.
Sometimes the sports medicine team is in a central location such as a sports medicine clinic, but in many communities the team is made of professionals who have offices in different places.
A sports medicine doctor has special training which prepares them to help the athlete with injuries, medical problems, and special situations such as eating disorders, training problems, and environmental conditions. The sports medicine doctor will do pre-participation physical exams and often times will have to make decisions if an athlete is allowed to play in their sport.
An orthopedic surgeon is a specialist who will take care of injuries and perform surgery if necessary. The team physician will be in frequent contact with the
orthopedic surgeon about a player’s progress.
The “team physician” should be the doctor who will take an active part in their athletes’ care, doing pre-participation physicals, providing on-site game coverage, being available to athletic trainers and coaches when an athlete is injured or sick, and being able to coordinate care with specialists. Sometimes team physicians work directly with teams, such as at the college or professional level and sometimes they integrate these responsibilities into their regular work.
If a coach or school doesn’t have a relationship with a sports doctor they should try to establish one. Make some phone calls to family physicians, orthopedic surgeons or pediatricians to see if they have the training and the interest to be your “team physician”. Contact the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine or the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine.