How to become a registered Sports Doctor

Every good thing requires planning and one of the famous footballer alive, Brazilian legend Pele said “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

If you want to become a registered sports doctor then you will have to meet the required criteria. Renowned doctors in the sports industry like Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, one of the leading sports doctors in the world, who’s worked with world-class athletes like Usain Bolt and FC Bayern Munich had time to prepare themselves for what they are now.

Perhaps, you have made the decision to pursue a career in medicine and looking forward to specialize in sports medicine or you are yet to take the first step which is the ‘decision making’ then this post is for you. This article will explain the steps required to achieve your dream.

Who is a Sport Doctor?

Basically a Sport Doctor is concerned with preventing, diagnosing and managing injuries related to physical exercise. Specifically, they examine patients, order diagnostic tests, and identify athletic-related injuries.

Also, they prescribe medication, treatment or perform surgery, as required, and counsel patients about their athletic health and activities. Their advice covers aspects of nutrition, sports psychology, substance abuse and increasing fitness.

How to Become a Sports Doctor – 4 Steps

First Step – Graduate Secondary School

Just like I outlined above, every amazing result you see today is as a result of proper planning and one of the most important aspect of a good plan is the foundation. To be a successfull sports physician, you need a graduate certificate from high-school or secondary school.

There are two potential pathways you can take from here: the undergraduate or the pre-medical degree route followed by a postgraduate medical degree.

Undergraduate medical degree

Most medical universities in the world offer undergraduate degree programs for students who completed secondary school. The duration is usually five to six years. Some of them require specific subjects as entry requirements, usually a combination of the basic sciences like biology, chemistry and physics.

Your choice to study the above subjects in high-school or secondary school not only gives you the opportunity to enter medical school but it provides a stepping stone for future courses taught during medical degrees.

Pre-medical degree

Some medical institutions, especially in the United States of America, but not exclusively, require a pre-medical degree. Such a degree can be in any major desired, as long as it is accredited and the required subjects for medical school are studied. After all, having a business or engineering acumen as a doctor is never a disadvantage.

Usually the duration for pre-medical education is approximately three to four years. he specific subjects often asked for by admission teams are general and organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, calculus or statistics, humanities, social science and behavioural science subjects. Alternatively, there are pre-medical degree programs specializing in sports medicine, kinesiology or exercise science, which offer candidates a solid background for their career that lies ahead. Such programs typically include the subjects required by medical programs.

Regardless of the pathway you take, it require hard work, dedication and excellent grades. In the end, a house can only stand the test of time if its materials are durable and solid.

Second Step – Graduate medical school

Before going for the graduate medical school, you must have prepared yourself and your foundations established already ushering you to the next level in your pursuit for a career in sports medicine.

For an evolving sports doctor, the base consists of graduating medical school, which takes between four and six years. You will need to first obtain either a medical (M.D.) or an osteopathic medicine (D.O.) degree. Although both are equally accepted, osteopathic programs emphasize the musculoskeletal system and preventative medicine.

In both programs, the focus is on the general science subjects of biochemistry, anatomy , physiology, microbiology and pathology, while performing clinical rotations through various specialities during the final years.

Since a high number of sports doctors are orthopedic surgeons, a high competency of anatomy is important. Even if surgery is not your cup of tea, you will deal with musculoskeletal injuries very frequently working with athletes and understanding biomechanics and being able to differentiate your rectus femoris from your vastus medialis is essential.

Third Step – Complete residency

After completing your graduate studies in medicine, it is time to start get yourself established by obtaining a licence from the respective country where you wish to practice and then begin the residency training.

At this point, the road of aspiring sports doctors splits once again into primary physicians and surgeons. Those who desire to practice primary care sports medicine can chose residencies like family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics or emergency medicine. Alternatively, orthopedic surgery can be the path of choice. The duration of those can vary from three to five years, in case of surgical specialties.

Fourth Step – Complete a fellowship

The final step to become a sports doctor involves the completion of a fellowship. Candidates who specialized in primary care must complete a primary care physician fellowship, while those specialized in orthopedic surgery need to complete a surgical sports medicine fellowship. Such a program lasts between one and two years and involves specializing in the assessment and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries, such as those of the head or spinal cord. Doctors also learn the prescription of protective equipment.

Final words

Money flows in the direction of value and sports medicine adds value to sports therefore it is one of the lucrative aspect of medicine. Sports doctors receive handsome salary in the Uk and the job is in high demand as sports is one of the biggest industry in the world.