How to become a sport medicine doctor



    -By JOSEPH EDUN, ABH PRESS                     

      Sport medicine doctors are specialists who specialize in treating athletes and other physically active individuals. They observe their patients during physical activities, and attend to them promptly when injured or in need of a medical assessment. It is one of those rarely talked about subspecialties among doctors and medical students alike. This disinterest is partly due to little or no fellowship spots for the subspecialty in Nigeria and the dearth of vital information needed to be one.

  For someone who has a dream of becoming a sport medicine doctor, these are the steps to follow;

     Step 1 : Get a medical degree.

 To be a sport medicine doctor, you would need to first, go to a certified medical school and earn a medical degree. In Nigeria, medical school is expected to be 6 years but in most cases, it extends beyond this due to incessant strike actions by lecturers, doctors, other health related professionals.

     Step 2 :  Enter a residency programme.

 After medical school, the next line of action is doing a residency programme for about 6 or 7 years in Nigeria. This can be a surgical or non surgical programme however, there is no residency programme yet for specialisation in sport medicine. To follow the non-surgical route, one must do residency in any primary care specialty, such as family medicine, internal medicine or paediatrics. For surgical route, a residency in orthopaedic surgery is necessary. Residency in emergency medicine also suffice. A certification as a specialist physician or surgeon is issued after the programme by the rightful accrediting body.


     Step 3 : Do a fellowship in sport medicine.

This is the final step to becoming a sport medicine doctor. Complete a 1 or 2 year fellowship in primary care sports medicine for a primary care physician or a surgical sports medicine fellowship for an orthopaedic surgeon. These programmes place a lot of emphasis on the treatment of orthopaedic injuries. While completing the fellowship, one may be required to attend athletic events and provide medical care as needed. One may also be required to attend conferences, gain teaching experience and complete a research project. In the US, a Certificate of Added Qualifications in sports medicine is issued after the fellowship as a primary care sports medicine physician, while orthopaedic surgeons are not required to earn a CAQ.

      You can now apply to Chelsea, Manchester United or any sport club you desire to be part of the medical team. However, sports medicine doctors are not paid weekly as the players they treat but monthly and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median annual salary of a sport medicine doctor as at 2016 is  $212,584.

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