Subspecialty Careers: Sports Medicine

The Discipline

Sports medicine focuses on physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise. This frequently includes advising patients on exercise and training, injury prevention, assessment and management of acute athletic injuries, rehabilitation, and care of medical problems of the athlete.

Physicians trained in sports medicine may practice in a variety of clinical settings. Many sports medicine clinicians are primary care physicians who develop a focus in their practice for sports medicine patients. Others may also have a more dedicated role in a specific sport or type of athlete, functioning as an advisor or team physician, among other roles.


Sports Medicine fellowship training requires one year of training beyond general internal medicine residency.

The Sports Medicine Certification Program is jointly administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Emergency Medicine, the American Board of Family Medicine, and the American Board of Pediatrics.

Training Positions

For the 2016-2017 academic year, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited 266 training programs across five specialties (Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, Pediatric Sports Medicine, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) with 499 total active positions in sports medicine.

Major Professional Societies

  • American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
  • American College of Sports Medicine

Back to November 2016 Issue of IMpact