What exactly is a ‘Sports Physician’?
Sports Physicians, now referred to as Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) Physicians, are medical specialists with training to manage all clinical issues that may relate to physical activity. They undertake an intense 4 years on-the-job training after their university and hospital experience, with the Australian program one of the longest and challenging Sports Medicine Programs in the world.
You don’t have to be an elite athlete to benefit from the services of a SEM Physician. They are specialists in musculoskeletal injuries, which can be from over practising that gold medal dive, trying (and failing) at the big jump at the skate park, or simply running across the road and breaking your ankle!
Sport and Exercise Physicians are also trained in all aspects of medicine, where it relates to sport and exercise. Their training covers a wide range of areas as asthma and cardiac problems with exercise through to specialised fields such as diving and environmental medicine.
So They Aren’t Surgeons?
SEM Physicians and Orthopaedic Surgeons are both well-trained in musculoskeletal problems. However, SEM Physicians specialise in non-operative treatment, working closely with other disciplines such Physiotherapists and Podiatrists to keep you, wherever appropriate, off that operating table. Of course, when indicated, SEM can advise on the suitability of a condition for surgery. In many instances, the Orthopaedic Surgeon may refer to a SEM Physician to assist with the rehabilitation prior to any consideration for surgery
Why Have I Been Referred for a Work Injury?
SEM Physicians are skilled in accurately diagnosing and managing musculoskeletal injuries, whether they have occurred on the exercise track, sporting field or the workplace. Often the trauma and the way the condition should be looked after are very similar.
Most SEM Physicians have extensive experience dealing with injured workers. Your doctor and/or physiotherapist may be seeking some further non-surgical opinions. SEM Physicians are evidence-based in their approach and can help guide you through various treatment options, some of which may not have been considered.