Sport and exercise medicine is a relatively new medical specialty created in order to provide the most appropriate medical support for sports men and women who have sustained injuries or developed medical problems related to exercise. The early specialists worked primarily for professional and elite teams or athletes but with time started to provide similar support for the more social and casual athletes or those experiencing problems in participating in various exercise programmes for health. The National Health Service had been slow to recognise the importance of exercise as a health tool but with the successful bid for the London 2012 Olympics came the promise to create Sport & Exercise Medicine (SEM) as an official NHS specialty. Structured training schemes were rapidly organised and the first few specialists have now been recognised and entered onto the specialist register.
The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (UK) was given the role of generating a suitable curriculum suitable for the needs of an SEM physician. This evolving document demands specialist skills necessary for an effective sports medicine physician including competency in; musculoskeletal medicine (MSK), imaging, investigation and injection techniques, rehabilitation, team medicine, exercise physiology, sports nutrition, gait and biomechanical assessment and research. Treatment regimes may include graded rehabilitation programmes, steroid or cortisone injections, prolotherapy, sclerosant therapy, traumeel injections, diagnostic local anaesthetic injections, hyaluronic acid (hyaluronans) otherwise known as viscosupplementation, high volume injections, autologous blood and platelet rich plasma (PRP). These are often delivered under ultrasound guided scans (USS).
In order for sports doctors to effectively treat and manage injuries and medical problems they need to have an understanding of a variety of different sporting disciplines in terms of the physiological demands required during training, prehabilitation and competitive scenarios. In addition, to be able to safely and effectively provide support within competition they have to be familiar with the relevant governing bodies rulings regarding medical care. The range of different sports necessitating medical and injury support is impressive and includes; Team Sports- Football or soccer, rugby union, rugby league, cricket, field hockey, rowing, netball, basketball, baseball, softball, rounders, handball, volleyball, water polo, lacrosse.
Individual Disciplines- Athletics, marathon and cross-country running, triathlon, cycling, boxing, wrestling, golf, equestrian, gymnastics, sprinting, fencing, weight lifting.