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©William E. Prentice


When you finish this chapter you will be able to:

  • Define the umbrella term sports medicine.

  • Identify various sports medicine organizations.

  • Contrast athletic health care in organized versus recreational sports activities.

  • Discuss how fitness professionals, including personal trainers and strength and conditioning coaches, relate to the sports medicine team.

  • Describe the role of an individual supervising a recreational program in athletic injury management.

  • Analyze the role of the athletic administrator in the athletic health care system.

  • Describe the role of the coach in injury prevention, emergency care, and injury management.

  • Identify the responsibilities of the athletic trainer in dealing with the injured athlete.

  • Describe the role of the team physician and his or her interaction with the athletic trainer.

  • Explain how the sports medicine team should interact with the athlete.

  • Identify other members of the sports medicine team and describe their roles.


Millions of individuals in our American society participate on a regular basis in both organized and recreational sports or physical activities. There is great demand for well-educated, professionally trained personnel to supervise and oversee these activities. Among those professionals are coaches, fitness professionals such as strength and conditioning specialists and personal trainers, recreation specialists, athletic administrators, and others interested in some aspect of exercise and sports science.

Ironically, participation in any type of physical activity places the “athlete” in situations in which injury is likely to occur. Athletes who engage in organized sports and/or recreational activities have every right to expect that their health and safety will be a high priority for those who supervise or organize those activities. Thus it is essential to have some knowledge about how injuries can best be prevented or at least minimized. Should injury occur, it is critical to be able to recognize that a problem exists, to learn how to correctly provide first-aid care, and to then refer the athlete to the appropriate medical or health care personnel for optimal treatment. However, it must be emphasized that these well-trained professionals are NOT health care professionals. In fact, attempting to provide health care to an injured or ill athlete is illegal in most states and likely violates the practice acts of several different professional health care provider groups licensed by the state to give medical care to an injured athlete.

An athlete is an individual who engages in and is proficient in sports and/or physical exercise.

The intent throughout this text is to provide students who intend to become coaches, fitness professionals, recreation specialists, athletic administrators, physical education teachers, exercise physiologists, biomechanists, sport psychologists, or sports nutritionists with an introduction or exposure to a variety of topics that relate to athletic injury management. This chapter introduces the members of the sports medicine team with whom these professionals are likely to interact ...

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