2012 Olympics: Thoughts on Sports Medicine Care for Olympic Athletes

by Dr. Scott Rodeo
Olympic rings

I have always believed in these three basic fundamentals for the sports physician:

The sports medicine physician needs to:

1. Know what you know

2. Know what you don’t know

3. Know how to get the answers for things that you don’t know

Just like athletes are “specialists” (e.g., a sprinter, a freestyler, etc.), physicians also have their area of expertise. No one physician can specialize in all areas. This is relevant to sports medicine and care of athletes, because the ideal sports medicine team is just that– a “team” of individuals with varying areas of expertise. For example, I am an orthopedic surgeon, but as team physician I must manage all sorts of injuries and illnesses. Taking care of these athletes over time provides good experience in managing the issues that are specific to a given sport and/or type of athlete. One learns the patterns of injuries that occur in a specific sport and how to best manage these injuries. At the same time, it is important for the sports physician to know when to ask for help.

Often times we need to consult specialists, such as a cardiologist when managing a heart condition or an endocrinologist if one of our athletes has diabetes. An important part of the sports physician’s job is to be able to communicate effectively with the athlete, coach, the athlete’s manager and family, and sometimes other outside individuals such as agents. We must carefully navigate issues related to privacy and confidentiality. Our job is to be able to serve as the “link” between the athlete, coach, and the specialist. The sports physician needs to be able to communicate effectively with the medical specialist on one hand and then with the athlete and coach on the other hand. Understanding the particular demands of the sports allows the sports physician to help the athlete interpret the information given by the specialist. This is critical, because although the specialist is an expert in his or her area, he or she may not understand the demands of the sport, training, and mentality of the athlete. All of these things are important in optimizing care of the athlete, and the sports physician fulfills an important role by acting as this “interpreter.”  In this way we also work closely with athletic trainers, physical therapists, and massage therapists, where our role is to communicate the medical information to the physiotherapist to design the optimal rehabilitation program.

Dr. Scott Rodeo, Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Scott Rodeo, Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Scott Rodeo is an orthopedic surgeon and the co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery. He serves as a Team Physician for U.S.A. Olympic Swimming.

Topics: Olympics
Tags:
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

HSS on Facebook

Facebook Status

Hospital for Special Surgery
April 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Did you know that Electromyography (EMG) is a form of electrodiagnostic testing that is used to study nerve and muscle function? Dr. Joseph Feinberg, Physiatrist, says: “There are two parts to EMG testing: a nerve conduction study and a needle exam for muscle testing. Both may result in some discomfort, but are usually well tolerated without the need for medication beforehand. EMG testing usually takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the condition being tested and findings of the study.” For more information on EMG testing, visit http://www.hss.edu/conditions_emg-testing-a-patient-guide.asp.

Facebook Picture
  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  •