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Sports and exercise medicine (SEM) is a professional qualification for physicians responsible for the health and care of athletes, but also for the functional evaluation and exercise prescription in patients with chronic diseases. SEM clinicians are involved in health promotion, screening and illness prevention for public health purposes.1 These medical specialists provide preparticipation evaluations in sports as well as comprehensive support and counselling for all those who engage in physical activity and exercise training. Although the exact role may vary in different settings and countries, key competencies of SEM-specialists have been identified including2 3:
Physical activity for public health.
Physical activity in extreme environments.
Sports and exercise for special/disabled populations.
Clinical/functional evaluation in athletes and patients.
Musculoskeletal medicine, injuries and rehabilitation.
Drugs and antidoping in sports.
Sports team care/management.
Psychosocial and complementary competencies (ie, research, communication, management).
Scientific evidence clearly shows that physical exercise is one of the most important prevention strategies and cost-effective/cost-saving medical treatment options for multiple chronic diseases.4 5 Surprisingly, abilities regarding the prescription of this exercise ‘poly-pill’ is not adequately taught in medical schools or during postgraduate specialisations. Athletes from different sports and performance levels will also seek SEM specialists for medical care. We, here, report the current state of the SEM specialisation in Europe and reflect on both our advances over the last decade and contemporary challenges.
Current situation in Europe
Specialisation in SEM varies largely and a formal European Union (EU)-wide recognition as well as a defined role within healthcare settings have not yet been reached in many European countries. This is illustrated by the fact that a common curriculum has not yet been implemented, even though it has been recently proposed by the …
Contributors All listed authors have made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition/analysis of data or interpretation of the current situation of Sports and Exercise Medicine in Europe. Additionally, they have been involved in the drafting or critical review and have approved the final version.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
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Competing interests None declared.
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