Sports Medicine, Health and Fitness

The need for fitness begins at an early age and extends well into later life. As such, the issue of sports participation is integrally related to the patient's sense of well-being, both physically and emotionally. The family physician is uniquely positioned to be involved across the entire age spectrum and is able to recognize that health and fitness are dependent on a certain degree of physical activity and regular exercise throughout one's life.

The pre-participation assessment as well as diagnosis and treatment of exercise-related injuries and diseases are best incorporated into comprehensive medical management. The pre-participation assessment is best performed within the context of the medical home or, at a minimum, by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. The family physician is uniquely qualified to be the sports medicine "doctor of choice" because of a broad knowledge base and experience.

The AAFP promotes continued medical education and supports patient education products for its members in the area of sports medicine, health, fitness and nutrition. It encourages the family physician to be the sports medicine doctor in his or her own community.

The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) states that “Sports Medicine is a body of knowledge and a broad area of health care which includes: 1) exercise as an essential component of health throughout life; 2) medical management and supervision of recreational and competitive athletes and all others who exercise; and 3) exercise for prevention and treatment of disease and injury.” The ABFM has developed a Certificate of Added Qualifications to recognize excellence among those with special expertise in Sports Medicine.  (1988) (April 2015 BOD)