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Sports Injury Handbook

Sports Injury Handbook
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The Foot


What to Look For in a Sports Specialist

Complete Table of Contents


What to Look For in a Sports Specialist

You can arm yourself with questions to ask about a sports medicine specialist's qualifications. These include:

  • Who will treat me, a physician or non-physician? Many insurance companies won't cover care that isn't ordered by a physician. Check with your insurance carrier first before receiving treatment from a nonphysician.

  • What are the doctor's professional affiliations? It's a good sign if your sports doctor is a member of a medical specialty group, such as the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, or the American College of Sports Medicine, although there are good sports doctors who have no professional affiliation.

  • Does the doctor have special training? Look for a doctor with a fellowship in sports medicine, either through orthopedic surgery or family practice. Also, a sports medicine specialist should deal with all areas of sports medicine, not just cardiovascular fitness.

  • Does the doctor or clinic offer a full range of diagnostic and rehabilitation services? The most comprehensive sports medicine clinics often include an orthopedic surgeon, internist, podiatrist, physical therapist and a trainer. A sports medicine clinic is no more reliable than its individual practitioners, and should be closely scrutinized. Also check whether the clinic has state-of-the-art isokinetic machines, such as Cybex, for rehabilitation.

  • How much will the treatment cost? A sports doctor shouldn't charge any more for a procedure than any other doctor. If you have any doubts, ask your insurance carrier what the customary fee is for a particular procedure.

  • How much time does the doctor spend on sports medicine? Only a few practitioners are full-time sports specialists. Many spend about 30 to 40 percent of their time practicing sports medicine.

  • Does the doctor have any special areas of practice? You want to choose a specialist to meet your needs. If you have a knee injury, seek out an orthopedist who specializes in knee problems. If you are having irregular menstrual periods, find an obstetrician-gynecologist who specializes in women's sports problems.

  • Sports Injury Handbook

    Find out more about how to select a sports specialist in the Sports Injury Handbook

    $19.95 Paperback · 284 pp. · ISBN 0-471-54737-9

    Available online at and, and at bookstores everywhere.

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