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Sports Medicine

Prepared by: Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Reviewed by: Australasian Sport Information Network
Last updated: 13 October 2020
Content disclaimer: See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer

Sports and exercise medicine (SEM) encompasses a broad range of skills including management of acute or chronic exercise related injuries, the management of medical problems associated with sport and exercise, doping related issues, and exercise prescription for both healthy people and for treatment and prevention of chronic disease. Research in SEM is particularly concerned with injury prevention, rehabilitation, and enhancing physical function. Team care, at both elite and community levels, may involve on-field management, touring with the team, and administrative work.

Sport and medical conditions

While there are an almost infinite number of medical conditions or injuries which may affect athletes there are some specific conditions which are consistently of concern in the sport sector.

Medical screening/periodic health evaluations

An important role for SEM professionals is providing medical screening or periodic health evaluations (PHE) for athletes. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) developed a Consensus Statement on Periodic Health Evaluation of Elite Athletes (2009) which provides further information.

PHEs aim to:

  • Prevent sudden death
  • Ensure optimal medical health (e.g. managing asthma, diabetes, menstrual, depression, etc.)
  • Ensure optimal musculoskeletal health
  • Optimise performance (e.g. nutrition, psychology, biomechanics, etc.)
  • Prevent injury
  • Review medications and vaccinations
  • Collect baseline data (e.g. blood tests, neuropsychological testing in contact sports, etc.)
  • Develop professional relationship with athlete(s)
  • Educate

[Source: Brukner et.al., (2004) Screening of Athletes: Australian ExperienceClinical Journal of Sports Medicine, Volume 14 (3)]

Resources

Is this information complete?

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