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Medical training in the United States, particularly sports medicine training, professes some very interesting facets and practice opportunities. The specialty of sports medicine is a relative newcomer in the United States having only been conceived in the 1970s. Before its conception, most sports medicine was accomplished by orthopaedic surgeons and general practitioners. Because of the increasing demands of athletics in the United States and the need for doctors who can treat the “whole” athlete, including but not limited to the bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, the Primary Care Sports Medicine (PCSM) doctor has become increasingly popular at universities and with professional teams and elite athletes. The training of such doctors will be discussed with the hope of acquainting others with our practices and exchanging ideas with our international colleagues.
The education process in the United States starts with 13 years of publicly or privately funded study (basic education). Once a student attains a degree from this basic education (a high school diploma), they may apply to a college or university for undergraduate training. After acceptance in an undergraduate programme, the student must designate a major field of training. For the student interested in medical school, this has traditionally been biology, microbiology, chemistry, or one of the other sciences. A newer trend in the United States for those not interested in making a career in the basic sciences should they be denied a place at medical school is to designate a major in a career oriented field such as exercise physiology, microbiology, athletic training, physical therapy, or the newly forming physical therapy/athletic training (PT/ATC) programmes. The last of these is a combination of both athletic training and physical therapy, allowing the student more choices and higher salaries when choosing a job. Physical therapy has traditionally been a well paid job, but …
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