MOA Blog

What is Sports Medicine Fellowship Training?

Posted by Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates

Find me on:

Aug 3, 2016 9:00:00 AM

A common question that is received from patients is:

"What does it mean to have sports medicine fellowship training?"

What is Sports Medicine Fellowship Training?

A fellowship is specialized training in the the doctor's area of focus, resulting in their area of expertise.  In orthopedics, a fellowship in sports medicine is an available option.

  • This is optional training that allows a surgeon to focus in on one specific field.
  • It is typically an additional year in length, but can vary in length.
  • Sports medicine fellowships focus on the comprehensive care of the athlete.
  • This encompasses everything from office evaluation, non-operative management, surgical treatment, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and sideline coverage of sports of all types.
  • The focus of sports medicine fellowship involves treatment of the shoulders hips, knees, ankles and elbows. It can also include treatment of any and all body parts and any type of sports related injury.
  • This additional training proves highly valuable in the evaluation and management of sports injuries.

During Sports Medicine Fellowship

During sports medicine fellowship, significant time is spent interacting with and evaluating athletes in the clinic and on the sidelines. This provides an opportunity to perfect the physician's physical examination and clinical skills, which is of utmost importance when evaluating an injury and determining what type of treatment is needed. Additional training is also received in reviewing advanced imaging modalities, such as MRIs and CAT scans. This proves highly valuable in evaluating injuries and being able to read MRIs and determining the severity of an injury and how to take care of it.

What is Sports Medicine Fellowship Training

In a sports medicine fellowship, athletes of all types and ages are typically cared for. This includes exposure and experience to caring for athletes in middle school, high school, collegiate and professional levels, as well as dealing with recreational athletes, such as weekend warriors who play softball and basketball, marathon runners and those who simply like to exercise and play sports for health or hobby. The goal of caring for these athletes and active individuals is to return them to the sports and activities that they love and to eliminate the injuries that cause pain and disability.

Why are Sports Medicine Fellowships Important?

A large part of fellowship training in sports medicine, as well as of the shoulder and knee, is the ability to learn and practice the most advanced and state-of-the-art surgical techniques. The field of orthopedic surgery is steadily evolving and improving, and with newer and advanced surgical techniques, we're getting individuals back to the playing field, the gym, or to their recreational hobbies, both with sooner return times, as well as sending them back faster, stronger, and less injury prone than they were before.

"While residency should prepare an orthopedic surgeon to handle most common orthopedic injuries and procedures, sports medicine shoulder and knee fellowships help a surgeon do a high volume of these cases to hone their skills and knowledge to provide more advanced treatment for injuries of a higher complexity that require more specialized surgical training."

When dealing with athletes and especially the orthopedic needs of their team, they rely on an expert in the area of sports medicine (a fellow trained surgeon) to cover those orthopedic needs.  Due to having experience and knowledge from fellowship, the orthopedic surgeon provides skills to cover teams.

  • This gives a physician experience and a type of dynamic that occurs between players, coaches, and the training staff, as well as, helping a physician understand the relationship between young athletes and their parents, and how to handle these interactions.
  • By understanding this dynamic, a physician can help to deal with all of these relationships, makes the surgeon more adept in caring for individuals as well as teams and making decisions, such as returning to play, when to hold, when to leave out, and when to proceed with surgical intervention.

Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates

For me, sports medicine fellowship was highly valuable in that it made me extremely comfortable in dealing with sports injuries in athletes of all ages. Having the opportunity to evaluate and participate in the surgical care and rehabilitation of many professional athletes, helped me to realize these athlete were no different from high schoolers and the recreational middle-aged athlete, and exercisers that we take care of, and in fact sustain many of the same types of injuries.

The best part about being a sports physician is being able to take care of a patient through their injury, watch them rehabilitate, heal and get them back to what they love, all the while being able to reassure both the patient and their family that everything is going to be okay.

Here at Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates, we have multiple physicians with fellowship training in sports medicine and one in the shoulder. This allows us, as a group, to provide excellent care for sports medicine injuries and offer patients the most advanced and up-to-date treatment techniques.

if you have a sports injury, call us today.  No referral necessary.  304-599-0720.

Mike's Story from InnerAction Media on Vimeo.



Topics: Sports related injuries