Sports medicine specialist is a person or individual with specialized education and training, who focuses on the medical and therapeutic aspects of sports participation and physical activities. This title of sports medicine specialist does not necessarily mean that the specialist is a physician.

A sports medicine physicians
    Summarily, the focus of sports medicine are:

  • Recognition
  • Identification
  • Evaluation
  • Immediate care of athletic injuries.
  • Prevention of sports or athletic injuries.
  • Rehabilitation and reconditioning of athletic injuries.
  • Application and administration of medication to cure injury.
  • The use of physical therapy, massage, orthopaedics and other therapy in the treatment of sports injury.
  • General health care administration of sports men and women in the avoidance of injuries.
  • Professional development and responsibilities.

Sports, in many cases are rigorous physical activities that involves swift and aesthetic movement, running, jumping, diving, twisting, struggling and or changes in body segment, mostly the appendages, trunk and of course all parts of the body.

Most sporting activities such as in team games and combatants also involves body contacts. As a result of all these, there’s the tendency of either running into each other, fall, slip, jump into pit or against obstacles which create room for accident and their resultant effect which is the sustenance of injury.

Injuries gotten during, through or at sports are called sports injury. They are numerous and range from mild to severe and from simple to complex.

Mechanism Of Sports Injury
The human body framework, The complexity of the structure of the human body needs to be examined in relation to how accident occur. All other creatures apart from man and the ape, work in their ‘four’ which gives them a very wide base and in favor of gravitational pull.

Man in his two legs, with the weight of the remaining part of the body is heavier and prone to fall or stagger if not well balanced while in motion.

In addition, more than half of the total bodyweight is located at the upper part of the body and it’s supported by means of rather thin, articulated bone of the legs. Thus, the centre of gravity which increases stability or balance as it is lowered, is relatively high in the erect human body.

However, despite this insufficiency, the human body is compensated by making adjustment that depends on the task at hand. For example, the centre of gravity may be lowered by widening the stance, A give-in at the knee joint or a segment of the body part may function either as a single unit or series of finely coordinated units or an increase in muscle power may be elicited in an effort to offset certain mechanical ineptitude.

Structural changes in bones resulting from stresses placed upon them. Afford broader and more secured muscle anchorage and consequently aid the development of more power.

Although, the bones of the body are not primarily designed to withstand shock, the musculature serve as shock absorber by absorbing impact and distributing it over a relatively large area; thereby, loosening the concentration of the force on a small area of bones.

Bones such as the chin and the skull which have little or no musculature and these are more susceptible to injury; therefore, should be afforded protection especially in athletic activities in which they’re vulnerable to blows.

There as there have been tremendous increase in participation and interest in athletics, there has also been corresponding interest, knowledge and understanding,  concerning all aspects of the medical management of athletic related injuries and conditions.

The phrase “sports medicine” is used to describe this vast network of medical and paramedical management of athletic injury. Sports medicine is multi disciplinary and encompasses all phrase of medical concerns relating to athletic injuries, Biomechanical, Physiological, Nutritional, Environmental, Pathological and Psychological.

It is an umbrella term that includes all medical and paramedical professionals who are concerned and that provide expertise aimed at enhancing the performance and the care of individual performance.

Precisely and summarily, sports medicine covers areas such as

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Biophysics
  • Nutrition
  • First Aid Treatment with a wide array of combined physical skills.

    Athletic training provides a wide array of health care support services for athletes. It has been defined as the art and science of prevention and management of injuries of all levels of athletic activities.

The provider of athletic training services is an athletic trainer. The profession of athletic trainer on sports medicine have developed to meet a demand of a professional highly skilled in the evaluation, care and management of athletic injuries.

As long as there have been athletics, there has generally been someone designated to manage or care for athletes who become injured.

In the past, this position of responsibility was generally filled by a coach, a teacher, student or any other interested person but now, this position at inter collegiate or professional level are filled by a certified athletic trainer.

An athletic trainer must be able to combine medical and scientific information in the area of Anatomy, physiology, Nutrition, First Aid, Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology.

In addition, the person must have sincere interest in athletics and in working with athletes and must possess communication and leadership skills.

Competencies Of An Athletic Trainer
Competencies identified as those necessary effective functioning as an entry level certified athletic trainer are categorized into six major domain: Prevention, Recognition and evaluation, Management of treatment and disposition, Rehabilitation, Organization and administration, Education and Counselling.

Each of these areas is important and are all inter-related. The athletic trainer must develop knowledge and competence in each category to provide optimal care.

Prevention: The best measure of managing an athletic injury is to prevent them from occurring. Therefore, much of the athletic trainer efforts should be devoted to preventing injury.

Numerous factors are important in the prevention of injury, such as Pre participation examination, Medical history of the athletes, Physical examination, Physical fitness screening, Proper Conditioning, Protective equipment, Selection, Maintenance, Safety Supervision, Facility and equipment, Preventive techniques such as tapping, padding, brazing, fitting.

Recognition and Evaluation: Athletic trainer must possess a high level of proficiency in assessment skills to accurately recognize and evaluate the nature and severity of athletic injury.

Athletic trainers are normally at the location or playing field where an injury occur and have to handle emergency with care.

They must be able to recognize and deal with conditions such as severe head or spine injury, hemorrhaging which may be internal or external, shock, suffocation or choking.

Athletic trainer must be prepared to administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, apply emergency splinting or supervise the transportation of an injured athletes.

Management, Treatment and Disposition: An athletic trainer must be skilled in various management and treatment procedures.

These include Administering immediate first aid treatment, providing therapy to promote healing and recovery, applying protective techniques to support and protect an injured area, referring an injured athlete for further medical assistance when necessary.

Athletic Trainer: Can have a dramatic effect on the overall recovery of an injured athlete by the proper use of treatment procedure. The goal is to return the injured athlete to activity as soon as possible without risking further injury.

The treatment of an athletic injury is a three step process:

  1. Examination of the sign and symptoms
  2. Application of treatment routine
  3. Assessment of the effect of this technique on the signs and symptoms of the injury.

This cycle continue throughout the treatment process I.e Assessment- Treatment- Reassessment.

Rehabilitation: It’s the restoration of normal form and function after injury. Athletic rehabilitation is the reconditioning of an injured athlete to his highest level of functioning in the shortest possible time.

This level of functioning is generally higher than that of a non athlete. Athletic trainer must be skilled in developing programme to effectively rehabilitate an athlete in a minimal amount of time depending on the nature surrounding the injury.

Rehabilitation requires a progressive, systematic program that develop range of motion, muscular endurance, strength, coordinated movement, functional activities and cardiorespiratory endurance.

Although, each of these phases overlaps, maximal development of any phase requires prior development of the preceding phase.

Rehabilitation also includes  total body conditioning or maintenance occurring concurrently with the restoration of the injured area so the athlete can meet the physical demands of athletic activities when returning to participation.

During rehabilitation, repeated assessment technique should be performed to evaluate progress and adjust the program as needed.

Organization and Administration of the athletic training: program are often overlooked aspect of an athletic trainers’ responsibilities. Athletic trainers must plan, organise, implement and evaluate procedures and policies necessary to provide their athletes with the most effective health care available to aid in efficient health care delivery.

Athletic trainer must maintain accurate and detailed records to document injuries, treatment and other services render to athlete.

Selecting, purchasing, maintaining and instructing others in the use of equipment and supplies necessary for operation of a training room are also the athletic trainers’ responsibilities.

Education & Counselling: The final function of an athletic trainer to be discussed is the role of educator and counseling to the athlete and to the student athletic trainer.

Athletic trainer needs to have the skills and knowledge necessary to instruct students in the competencies required to become professional athletic trainer.

This responsibility required that, the athletic trainer keep abreast of current sports medicine issues and being able convey this information to others.

Another facet of education and counselling skills required is the athletic trainer’s ability to recognize situations that require consultation with other health care professionals regarding an athlete’s social and personal problems.

This involves skills in assessing an athlete to the appropriate professional.

To be effective in this area, an athletic trainer must posses effective communication skills which will enable him to interact with athlete, parents, coaches, administrators, physicians and other professionals concerning various health related problems.