Monday, February 15, 2010
I'm always so proud when the Olympics roll around. Love to see the US represented well, win or lose, it's super.
The field of sports medicine has evolved at a blistering pace over the past thirty years. It used to be that all you had on the sideline or on the bench was a trainer, essentially a medical technician who learned a lot about treating sports injuries both in school and on the job, or, in the pros, you had an orthopedic surgeon at every game praying no one got hit in the throat or got their noggin' cracked open.
Witnessing the terrible, fatal luge crash the other day reminded me that the days of the Orthopedic surgeon as the sole 'team doc' are gone. To be sure, most sports injuries and syndromes still fall within the penumbra of orthopedics (in fact, orthopedic surgeons can do a one year fellowship to specialize in sports orthopedics), but more and more, primary care and ER docs are being called upon because so many problems with athletes ARE NOT of the orthopedic variety.
A primary care or ER doc can also do a sports medicine fellowship (also one year of extra training) to prepare to specialize in treating athletes. It might be hard to imagine, but many athletes DO have issues outside the bones and joints that can impact performance.