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

In the 2020-2021 academic year, there are 151 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited training programs in sports medicine (family medicine) with 261 trainees. There are also 17 training programs in sports medicine (pediatrics) with 27 trainees. There are additional training programs in the following areas:

  • Orthopedic sports medicine – 90 programs with 216 trainees
  • Sports medicine (emergency medicine) – 8 programs with 17 trainees

Major Professional Societies

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

Back to the September 2020 issue of ACP IMpact