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Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with identification, treatment, and prevention of injuries in sports (Edelson 53). In addition, it deals with physical fitness and well-being of individuals who participate in any kind of physical exercise.
Sports medicine covers both professional and amateur athletes in all fields of sports. It is a diverse field because it includes healthcare professionals, researchers, educators, and nutritional specialists (Edelson 54).
In addition, it encompasses several health careers that include medical doctors, kinesiotherapists, athletic trainers, nurses, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and doctors of osteopathy (Narvani and Lynn 23).
Sports medicine is an important field of medicine because it deals with preventive, curative, and rehabilitative aspects of physical fitness and injuries in sports.
History of sports medicine
Study and practice of sports medicine dates back to the 20th century even though certain aspects existed as early as the 5th century. However, certain aspects of sports medicine can be traced back to ancient times. Greeks and Romans developed ways to improve training of athletes, hence development of physical education.
Development of physical education led to careful control and supervision of athletes’ training that led to improved strength and athletic abilities. During ancient times, athletes underwent special training procedures in order to reduce risks to injuries (Snook 252).
For example, therapeutic exercises used to heal injuries are attributed to Herodicus and Galen. Galen was a doctor in charge of monitoring the training of gladiator fighters (Snook 252). Modern practice of sports medicine can be traced to the 1928 Olympic Games.
A committee was formed to organize the International Congress of Sports Medicine (Snook 253). The congress came up with the idea of involving medical doctors in the games to deal with athletes’ injuries and physical fitness.
During the 1968 Olympics, Dr. J. C. Kennedy organized a team of doctors whose responsibility was to deal with athletes’ injuries and physical fitness (Schepsis and Busconi 74). In addition, the doctor formed the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine.
He was the first doctor appointed to head a medical team in the history of Olympics (Snook 253). Today, every team that participates in physical activity has a team doctor or physician. The role of physicians of improving team performance and safety is critical cannot be ignored.
Sports medicine team
Members of a sports medicine team include physical therapists, physical trainers, surgeons, physicians or medical doctors and athletes (Edelson 62). Athletic trainers or therapists deal with health and physical fitness of athletes. They treat and prevent athletic injuries.
They also serve the role of mediators between the team’s coach and athletes (Narvani and Lynn 27). The team’s physician supervises the physical history of players, clears players for return to athletics after rest due to injury, and cooperates with the physical trainer to improve the team’s training program (Narvani and Lynn 28).
Athletes have several roles. They adhere to rules set by the team’s physician and trainer, maintain good physical fitness as required by the physician and coach, and use protective equipment to avoid injuries (Schepsis and Busconi 64).
On the other hand, the coach supervises athletes’ training, ensures safety of training facilities, provides protective equipment to athletes, and develops training programs and procedures that enhance athletes’ safety (Narvani and Lynn 29).
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Athletic training students (ATS’s) assist the coach to clean training facilities, and keep records of athletes’ health and physical fitness. In addition, they help the coach improve safety by keeping training equipment in good condition.
Primary focus of sports medicine
The primary focus of sports medicine is quick recovery of athletes from injuries. This is due to the competitive nature of sports that requires optimal performance by athletes. Sports medicine offers preventive, rehabilitative, and curative medical services to athletes.
Therefore, practitioners in sports medicine specialize in diagnosis and treatment of injuries associated with participation in physical activity (Schepsis and Busconi 77). The main type of injury experienced by athletes is deformation of muscles and joints caused by unsafe training methods.
Sports medicine has facilitated development of innovative treatment methods that guarantee quick recovery of athletes. These include methods to restore muscle integrity, tissue strength, and joint mobility and durability (Schepsis and Busconi 75). Preventive services include ways of avoiding injuries.
Examples of preventive services include education on safe training methods and procedures. On the other hand, rehabilitative services include ways to hasten recovery and avoid deterioration of injuries.
The American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM) classifies sports medicine into two classes that include surgical care and primary care (Schepsis and Busconi 78). Surgical care includes surgical operations that repair joints, ligaments, and tendons.
Primary care includes all other medical procedures that do not involve surgery. Some aspects of primary care include nutritional guidance that helps athletes choose foods that promote physical activity and strength.
Importance of sports medicine
The sports industry is an important sector of the global economy. Countries that participate in national and international sports events generate revenue that develops their economies and improves lives of athletes (Schepsis and Busconi 61).
Therefore, the health of athletes should be improved in order for countries and athletes to benefit fully (Engerbretsen and Steffen 961). Sports medicine is important because it monitors physical activities that involve many risks, which predispose athletes to injuries.
Injuries cause great harm to the body and reduce performance and productivity of athletes. In addition, physical injuries may result in long-term physical complications such as organ amputation and paralysis (Engerbretsen and Steffen 961). For example, fractures cause joint pains, body aches, and arthritis.
Therefore, it is important to avoid, and treat injuries. Regaining mobility and activity after injury requires skills of trained medical practitioners who possess knowledge on how to induce recovery of bones and tissues (Engerbretsen and Steffen 961).
Sports medicine is also important because it helps prevent future injuries thus enabling athletes improve their performance. Physical injuries cause great pain and suffering to athletes because they sometimes take long to heal. In addition, they occasionally lead to irreparable damages that end careers of athletes.
Some athletes have been paralyzed due to severe brain injuries that resulted from physical injuries. In addition, others have had their hands or legs amputated to prevent further damage. Sports medicine helps prevent such incidences among athletes (Engerbretsen and Steffen 962).
Common sports injuries
Common sports injuries include concussion, muscle cramps, ankle sprain, ACL sprains, and shin splints (Schepsis and Busconi 39). Concussion results from extensive head trauma due to violent movement of the brain within the skull.
Muscle cramps result from sudden contraction of muscles and consequent failure to relax. They do not cause serious complications because recovery is quick. ACL sprains results from poor coordination between feet and knees.
They arise when knees twist while the feet are firmly positioned on the ground without any movement to complement the knees’ movements (Schepsis and Busconi 41).
Ankle sprains result from excess stretching of ligaments due to strenuous physical activity. Shin splints results from overuse of muscles that connect the lower leg to the shinbone (Schepsis and Busconi 43).
Sports medicine is not a new concept in the world of athletics. Its history can be traced back to the 5th century. It involves identification, treatment, and prevention of injuries in sports. In addition, it deals with physical fitness and well-being of individuals involved in sports and physical exercises.
It is a wide field of study and practice because it encompasses skills and knowledge of different professionals that include medical doctors, kinesiotherapists, athletic trainers, nurses, nutritionists, physiologists, and doctors of osteopathy. It takes care of all aspects associated with athletes’ safety and health.
One of the most important aspects of sports medicine is the sport medicine team. It comprises therapists, coaches, physicians, and athletes. Each of these groups of members plays a different role in the team.
Coaches develop training programs, physicians treat injuries, and therapists offer advice on appropriate training procedures. The primary focus of sports medicine is quick recovery of athletes from injuries. Common sports injuries include concussion, muscle cramps, ankle sprain, ACL sprains, and shin splints.
Sports medicine is important because it prevents and cures injuries that may have long-term effects on athletes such as paralysis and organ amputation. In addition, its services are important because they help to improve the performance and safety f athletes.
Edelson, Edward. Sports Medicine. London: Chelsea House, 2001. Print.
Engerbretsen, Lars, and Steffen Kathrin. The Importance of Sports Medicine, British Journal of Sports Medicine 43 (2009): 961-962. Print.
Narvani, Amir, and Lynn Bruce. Key Topics in Sports Medicine. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2006. Print.
Schepsis, Anthony, and Busconi Brian. Sports Medicine. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. Print.
Snook, George. The History of Sports Medicine. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 12.4 (2011): 252-254. Print.