Understanding Sports Medicine
Sports medicine has become increasingly important and popular as the number of athletes growing dramatically increases. While it was traditionally a field for military personnel, athletes in all sports have benefited from its application. Now that professional athletes are signing multimillion contracts with big-name professional sports teams, this branch of medicine has become more important than ever. It is estimated that approximately 20% of professional athletes in the National Football League (NFL) and many other sports across the professional sports spectrum require the services of a sports-related doctor within their careers.
Sports medicine professionals use a variety of treatment techniques to help alleviate injury and enhance sporting performance. Sports medicine can also treat traumatic injuries resulting from participation in athletics, workman’s compensation due to on-the-job injuries, neuromuscular issues related to repetitive motions, traumatic brain injury (TBI), head injuries, shoulder pain, and a variety of other conditions and diseases. As a profession, sports medicine has become extremely focused on prevention and early intervention, especially in athletes with a history of concussions. A concussion is defined as a blow to the head or neck that results in symptoms such as short term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, irritability, depression, lack of concentration or focus, and slowed mental processing.
Athletes are not the only ones who can suffer from concussions. The ramifications of a TBI can impact the family of an athlete, the fan base of the sport they play, and the country or region they reside in. Without the assistance of an experienced sports medicine professional, these issues can be difficult to deal with and prevent further progress with the concussions sustained. Sports medicine professionals working with the NFL, in particular, have helped to establish long-term care and rehabilitation programs, improve safety guidelines and standards, and advocate for more aggressive and effective post-concussion programs.