Introduction: Sports Medicine and the Working Athlete

The term "Sports Medicine" is an everyday word in this day-and-age of hospital marketing campaigns, orthopedic surgeons, professional sports and even your child's soccer club. Do you really know what sports medicine is?

Our approach to sports medicine and the Working Athlete is very simple: the efficient, effective and concise delivery of services to a population that has an established relationship in place.

Here is a common scenario in today's traditional sports medicine world.

An NFL running back enters his first day of training camp, after the completion of an intensive conditioning program during the off-season. Prior to starting camp, he undergoes an assessment to determine any potential injury risks or weaknesses that need to be addressed by the sports medicine team. These are managed through daily treatment sessions in which the athletic trainer works to improve the function of the athlete by starting with the assessment results, collecting the athlete's feedback, developing a solution to the problem, implementing a plan, educating them on the situation, reassessing the progress and completing the stated tasks and goals. While using this process, the sports medicine team establishes the foundation on what will become a close relationship between them and the athlete.

This relationship is the key to managing the athlete's health once the season begins. Inevitably, that same running back will be breaking through the offensive line, making a cut to avoid a linebacker and suddenly feel a "pop" in their knee, falling to the ground in pain. This is where the relationship established between the sports medicine team and athlete is of great benefit. The athletic trainer will come onto the field, fully understanding the demands this athlete needs to be able to perform at. They will have the technical skill to assess the athlete to determine the extent of the problem. The relationship and trust established with the athlete and the baseline data to compare the new findings. They then will develop a plan, setting goals and tasks, to return the athlete to full function.

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