FAQs

Q?

Do Sports Medicine Physicians only treat competitive athletes?

A.

  • No, Sports Medicine Physicians are ideal physicians for the non-athlete as well, and are excellent resources for the individual who wishes to become active or begin an exercise program. For the “weekend warrior” or “industrial athlete” who experiences an injury, the same expertise used for the competitive athlete can be applied to return the individual as quickly as possible to full function.
  • Sports Medicine Physicians are dedicated to providing comprehensive and quality care to the active individual.

Q?

Athletic Trainer

A.

Certified athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity.  They are often the “first responders” at organized athletic events and serve important functions in the preparation and planning for a healthy season. As part of a complete health care team, the certified athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other health care professionals, athletics administrators, coaches and parents.

More than 70 percent of certified athletic trainers hold at least a master’s degree. To become certified athletic trainers, students must pass a comprehensive test administered by the Board of Certification.  Once certified, they must meet ongoing continuing education requirements in order to remain certified. In conjunction with the medical director or team physician, the athletic trainer will organize referrals to appropriately qualified specialists and coordinate the care of the athlete across all medical and surgical specialties.

Q?

Physical Therapist

A.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who treat individuals of all ages with medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques that promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles. Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.

State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. All PTs must receive a graduate degree from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. The physical therapist under the direction and supervision of your surgeon will manage the rehabilitation of the athlete following surgery.

Q?

What can a Physician Assistant do for me during my appointment at Sports & Orthopaedic Specialists?

A.

The PA’s schedule is often able to accommodate patients quicker than the main physician’s schedule. PA’s see both new and established patients.

As a highly trained healthcare provider, the PA can obtain the necessary history, perform an examination, order and interpret appropriate tests and then provider a patient with an array of treatment options both surgical and non-operative. Treatments that are typically supervised by the PA include physical therapy, injections such as cortisone or viscosupplementation, bracing/splinting, or prescription of medications. If it is felt that surgical intervention is necessary, a PA can discuss the surgical procedure and recovery with the patient although at Sports & Orthopaedic Specialists, all patients contemplating surgery are evaluated and advised by one of your highly trained Orthopaedic Surgeons. All patient care is discussed with the supervising physician by the PA. If at any time the patient or the physician assistant feels that the complexity of the case requires attention by a physician, the follow-up would be scheduled with the supervising doctor.

A patient should feel comfortable with seeing a physician assistant; however, your preferences should be discussed with the staff when making an appointment. In most cases, the PA is able to spend more time answering questions with the patient and his/her family.

Q?

What is a Physician Assistant?

A.

A physician assistant (PA) is a healthcare provider who is licensed to practice medicine under the direct supervision of a physician. Like other healthcare professionals, a physician assistant is required to attend an accredited educational program. Once formal schooling is completed, a student must take a national certification exam administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). When certified, the credentialing initials change from PA to PA-C. They must also become licensed by the state in which they are going to practice. In order to maintain both national certification and state licensure, a PA must complete a minimum of 100 hours of continuing education every two years as well as take and pass the national recertification exam given every six years.

Most often a PA works directly under the tutelage of a single physician. This allows for a team approach when it comes to patient care. In the PA’s scope of practice each provider can conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel patients on prevention, assist in surgery, and write medication prescriptions. The physician assistant may also see patients who have been hospitalized following surgery to evaluate their condition and report changes to the doctor.

Q?

What is a Sports Medicine Physician?

A.

  • A physician with specialized training who promotes lifelong fitness and wellness, and encourages prevention of illness and injury. This physician helps the patient maximize function and minimize disability and time away from sports, work, or school.
  • He or she is a leader of the sports medicine team, which also includes specialty physicians and surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, coaches, other personnel, and, of course, the athlete.
  • They are experienced physicians and surgeons with an interest in athletic disorders. Most obtain 1-2 years of additional training in sports medicine through accredited fellowship (subspecialty) programs in Sports Medicine. Sports Specialists are then eligible to take a subspecialty qualification examination in Sports Medicine. Additional forums, which add to the expertise of a Sports Medicine Physician, include continuing education in sports medicine, and membership and participation in sports medicine societies.

Q?

What is a Team Physician?

A.

Most Sports Medicine Physicians also serve as Team Physicians for local and/or National teams and clubs. These physicians must fulfill published qualifications with the following responsibilities:

  • Pre-participation physical examination
  • Injury assessment and management
  • Care of sports-related injuries
  • Special populations (elderly, disabled, women, youth, etc)
  • Coordinating care with other members of the sports medicine team including athletic trainers, physical therapists, personal physicians, other medical and surgical specialties, sports nutritionists, sports psychologists and other ancillary personnel
  • Communication with athletic trainers, coaches, school administration, as well as athletes and their families

Q?

What is Orthopaedic Sports Medicine?

A.

Orthopaedic sports medicine is the investigation, preservation and restoration by medical, surgical, and rehabilitative means of all structures of the musculoskeletal system that are affected by athletic activity. Orthopaedic sports medicine specialists have advanced specialty training that makes them proficient in the following areas:

  • Treatment options, both surgical and non-surgical, as they relate to sports-specific injuries and competition.
  • On-the-field evaluation and management of sports medicine related illnesses and injuries with detailed knowledge of sports-specific musculoskeletal injuries and medical problems.
  • “Return to play” decisions in the sick or injured athlete
  • Coordination of medical care within athletic team settings including other health care professionals, such as athletic trainers, physical therapists, and non-orthopaedic physicians.
  • Conditioning, training, and fitness as it relates to athletic performance.
  • Athletic performance and the impact of dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, and nutrition on athletes’ short- and long-term health and performance.
  • Soft tissue biomechanics, injury healing, and repair.
  • Principles and techniques of rehabilitation that enable the athlete to return to competition as quickly and safely as possible.
  • Knowledge of athletic equipment and orthotic devices (braces, foot orthoses, etc.) and their use in prevention and management of athletic injuries.

Q?

What is the difference between a Sports Medicine Surgeon and an Orthopaedic Surgeon?

A.

  • Both are well trained in musculoskeletal medicine. Sports Medicine Specialists are orthopaedic surgeons with additional training in the unique injuries and recovery cycle of athletes. Sports medicine surgeons specialize in the non-operative and operative treatment of musculoskeletal sports conditions. Individuals with advanced expertise in sports medicine are trained to detect subtle conditions that often limit optimum performance and to employ advanced therapies including surgery to restore that potential.
  • Many sports injuries can be managed without surgery and Sports medicine surgeons can expedite referral to appropriate rehabilitative care and ancillary services as needed.
  • Common examples of musculoskeletal problems include:
    • Acute injuries (such as ankle sprains, muscle strains, knee & shoulder injuries, and fractures)
    • Overuse injuries (such as tendonitis, stress fractures)
    • Injury prevention