Sports medicine or sport medicine is an interdisciplinary subspecialty of
medicine which deals with the treatment and preventive care of athletes, both
amateur and professional. The team includes specialty physicians and surgeons,
athletic trainers, physical therapists, coaches, other personnel, and, of
course, the athlete.
Illness or injury in sport can be caused by many factors - from environmental to
physiological and psychological. Consequently, sports medicine can encompass an
array of specialties - cardiology, orthopaedic surgery, biomechanics,
traumatology, etc. For example, heat, cold or altitude during training and
competition can alter performance or may even be life threatening. What about
the female triad of disordered eating, menstrual and bone density problems, and
the pregnant or the aging athlete? In addition, the management of dermatological
and endocrinological diseases and other such problems in the athlete demands
expertise and sport-specific knowledge. The use of supplements, pharmacological
or otherwise, and the topics of doping control and gender verification present
complex moral, legal and health-related difficulties.
Then there are the
particular problems associated with international sporting events, such as the
effects of travel, acclimatization and the attempt to balance an athlete's
participation and her or his health. Much of this represents new fields of study
where extensive clinical and basic science research is burgeoning.
Finally, prevention is an area of increasingly specialized knowledge, interest