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Introduction

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You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.

Babe Ruth

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Sports and exercise medicine includes:

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  • injury prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation

  • management of medical problems

  • exercise prescription in health and in chronic disease states

  • the needs of exercising in special subpopulations

  • the medical care of sporting teams and events

  • medical care in situations of altered physiology, such as at altitude or at depth

  • performance enhancement through training, nutrition, and psychology

  • ethical issues, such as the problem of drug abuse in sport.

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Because of the breadth of content, sports and exercise medicine lends itself to being practiced by a multidisciplinary team of professionals with specialized skills who provide optimal care for the athlete and improve each other’s knowledge and skills.17 The adage that a “champion team” would always beat a “team of champions” applies to sports and exercise medicine. This team approach can be implemented in a multidisciplinary sports and exercise medicine clinic or by individual practitioners of different disciplines collaborating by cross-referral.

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The sports and exercise medicine team

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The most appropriate sports and exercise medicine team depends on the setting. In an isolated rural community, the sports and exercise medicine team may consist of a family physician or a physiotherapist/physical therapist alone. In a populous city, the team may consist of:

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  • physiotherapist/physical therapist

  • sports physician

  • massage therapist

  • exercise specialist for exercise prescription

  • athletic trainer

  • orthopedic surgeon

  • radiologist

  • podiatrist

  • dietitian/nutritionist

  • psychologist

  • other professionals such as osteopaths, chiropractors, exercise physiologists, biomechanists, nurses, occupational therapists, orthotists, optometrists

  • coach

  • fitness adviser.

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In the Olympic polyclinic, an institution that aims to serve all 10 000 athletes at the games, the sports medicine team includes 160 practitioners (Table 2.1).

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Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 2.1

The clinical team structure for the preparation in advance of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games

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Multiskilling

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The practitioners in the team have each developed skills in a particular area of sports and exercise medicine. There may also be a considerable amount ...

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