Objective: To define the role and responsibilities of the sports medicine specialist using a recognised research technique.
Methods: A Delphi technique was employed using anonymous postal questionnaires sent to a random sample of 300 members of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine. The questionnaire of 300 putative attributes was developed in a pilot study and the Delphi technique used allowed participants to modify their responses according to the responses of other participants.
Results: There was a 53% response to both rounds of the study with 75.6% of the respondents being male, 39% having a higher qualification in sports medicine, and 45.6% being general practitioners. Some 86.3% strongly agreed that sport and exercise medicine should be a recognised speciality and 90% strongly agreed that it should be available on the National Health Service (NHS). The most important specialist attributes were orthopaedic and soft tissue medicine (83.6% strongly agreed) and emergency medical management (79.7% strongly agreed). More than 75% of respondents did not agree that either research or personal playing experience were relevant.
Conclusion: Sports and exercise medicine is an evolving speciality in the United Kingdom. We believe this is the first systematic attempt to define the role and responsibilities of the sports medicine specialist and the findings are of relevance to the future development of a career pathway.
- Delphi study
- sports medicine
- BASEM, British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
- NHS, National Health Service
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Conflict of interest: none declared.