The field of sports medicine encompasses a wide range of healthcare and fitness services for athletes, whether professional or amateur. These professionals are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries related to sports and exercise, and they also offer advice on preventative care. They are often trained in minimally invasive techniques, and they can provide patients with a speedy recovery. Unlike some other healthcare specialists, doctors who specialize in sports medicine can usually treat all kinds of orthopedic issues.
The concept of sports medicine is relatively new, and it has developed from the need for medical care in athletes and people who exercise. The field was founded in the 2nd Century AD by Galen, who served as the team physician for the Roman Gladiators. Since the resurgence of the Olympic Games in 1896, increased participation in sport and training has led to a need for sports doctors.
Today, many healthcare professionals have a strong interest in sports medicine, and there are several occupations that focus on this area of health. These include physical therapists, certified athletic trainers, and physicians who specialize in sports medicine. They may work with elite athletes, guiding them to peak performance through strategic conditioning. They also may serve as team physicians for competitive teams at the interscholastic, collegiate, and professional levels.
Most injuries that occur to active individuals are caused by overuse or excessive activity, and the sports medicine doctors that work with them address these conditions. They also can provide patients with information on injury prevention and the safest and most efficient ways to train.