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Sport and exercise medicine in the UK: what juniors should know to get ahead
  1. Liam Richard West1,
  2. Steffan Griffin2
  1. 1Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Liam Richard West, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, 3050, Australia

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Are you sick and tired of pushing so many pills to your patient for their various ailments that by 9:15 you can hear them rattling in the corridor? Would you rather empower them to be physically active in a safe, prescribed way to help them manage these diseases and improve their overall health? Exercise medicine might be for you.

Do you want to work with a highly motivated patient demographic that will go above and beyond to overcome illness and injury? Do you want to use your medical knowledge to increase sporting performance, all while being able to escape the clinic and share in some of the world's most iconic sporting moments? Maybe sports medicine is for you. Welcome to the exciting and refreshing approach to medicine offered by the specialty of sports and exercise medicine (SEM); putting the ‘Health’ back into the National Health Service (NHS).

What do SEM doctors do?

A popular image is that SEM doctors just care for professional or amateur athletes, manage their medical conditions and musculoskeletal injuries in an attempt to improve their performance. However, there is an increasing need for SEM doctors to manage inactive or obese patients by providing education about and safe prescriptions for physical activity that gets patients to treat or prevent various non-communicable diseases such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension.1

SEM doctors often work in partnership and share a skill set with other specialties; for example, collaborating with neurologists to return concussed athletes safely to competition, with cardiologists to distinguish an athlete's heart from a cardiomyopathy, with radiologists to interpret scans within the clinical context and with orthopaedic surgeons to best manage musculoskeletal injuries.

In the elite sport setting, you will work with and learn from various professionals, including physiotherapists, sports scientists, osteopaths, physiologists, fitness coaches and managers, and must aim to maintain …

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  • Twitter Follow Liam West at @Liam_West and Steffan Griffin at @lifestylemedic

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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