A position in Sports Medicine is considered to be an Investigative career according to the Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment. Since its initial release in the early 20th century, job seekers have used the Strong Interest Inventory® to help find careers that would be an ideal fit for them based on their related preferences. This assessment first analyzes an individuals’ interest patterns and then guides them to their top Theme Code Categories, each of which associated with careers that would be an ideal match based on shared preferences with those who have reported satisfied within the field. For example, Investigative careers, like Sports Medicine, rely on real-world problem solving and an attention to detail, and they typically attract individuals with a proclivity for mathematics and the sciences.

Sports Medicine Physician

Read about a career in Sports Medicine including information such as a Sports Medicine Physician’s salary, daily tasks and other career information.

Sports Medicine Physicians diagnose and treat musculoskeletal injuries, especially those that occur during sporting matches or events. They order and interpret laboratory tests and imaging procedures (e.g., PET, CT, MRI, and other scans). They record athletes’ medical histories and maintain records of their care information and results of physical examinations. In addition to the actual medical practice, they often also determine athletes’ levels of physical fitness and provide athletes with advice to facilitate their healing, or to prevent injury before actually participating in a sport. This may also include running injury and illness prevention workshops or training sessions for athletes. Sports Medicine Physicians work loosely with other experts, including specialty physicians, surgeons, athletic trainers, coaches, and physical therapists, to ensure that athletes’ performance and care is optimized as much as possible.

In case of an injury, Sports Medicine Physicians examine, evaluate, and treat injuries while supervising rehabilitation. If necessary, they may refer athletes for a specialized consultation (e.g., with an asthma specialist, Orthopedic Surgeon, etc.) depending on the specific injury at hand. They may also prescribe medications for athletic injuries, and give recommendations for self-care (e.g., nutrition, hydration, and other possible things the athletes themselves can do to maintain their own health). Finally, they may advise coaches or trainers on the athlete’s condition and how their recovery can be hastened.

Sports Medicine Physicians use many different kinds of tools and technology, including health equipment (e.g., body composition analyzers, muscle stimulators, pulse oximeters, bone densitometers), emergency medical equipment (e.g., automated external defibrillators), movement assistance devices (e.g., wheel chairs, canes or crutches, knee braces), medical testing equipment (e.g., EKGs, MRIs, ultrasounds, X-rays) and free weights. In addition, they may also use 3D motion analysis software, email software, or medical software like Bizmatics, PrognoCIS EMR, Greenway Medical Technologies PrimeSUITE, and others. Of course, Microsoft Office Suite is also highly important.

Most Sports Medicine Physicians have a graduate degree, most commonly a Medical Doctorate (MD). In these degree programs, they develop a deep technical expertise in medicine, dentistry, and biology. In addition, they also develop a basic understanding of customer and personal service, as well as the administration and management issues associated with managing and running a clinic. In addition to their content knowledge, sports medical physicians also need to be strong communicators and be able to understand and process large amounts of information in writing and in speech. In addition, they need to be able to solve complex problems and make timely judgments confidently, while understanding that their decisions could have real-life consequences for the athletes in their care. Finally, they need to have an interest in personal and customer service, and the ability to explain complex ideas (such as medical jargon) in ways that are accessible and comforting to their patients, as well as others (e.g., coaches, parents, etc.) who may be helping their patients or family member along the road to their recovery.

The median Sport Medicine Physician salary in the United States is over $200,000, and the top 25% of earners in nearly every state earn over $210,000 per year. Earnings are slightly lower in the Deep South, including Mississippi and Alabama, and are lowest in Nebraska and Oklahoma, where the means are just above $114,000 per year. Employment trends are steadily rising in most of the country, with the most-populated states of California, New York, Texas, and Florida adding the majority of new jobs in the next decade. In fact, there are projected to be over 60,000 Sports Medicine Physicians employed in the state of New York alone.

Below are some employment trends for Sports Medicine Physicians:

  • Sports Medicine Physician Salary: $96.58/hour; $200,890+ annually
  • Employment: 434,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2018-2028): Faster than average (7-10%)
  • Projected job openings (2018-2028): 16,500
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections]

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections Onetonline.org