A sports medicine degree can prepare you for working with players of different ages and backgrounds and helping them succeed in their chosen sports. While some people assume that those who study sports go on and obtain a medical degree to work as a doctor, this isn't always the case. Team doctors usually have a higher level of training and education, but you can find work in the field with just a bachelor's degree. No matter which career path you choose, you'll work directly with teams and players.
An athletic trainer is one of the most important people working for a college, high school, amateur or professional sports team. The trainers are the ones responsible for ensuring that players are at in peak condition and that they avoid suffering injuries on the field. Trainers help athletes decide what exercises they can do away from the field to stay in shape, they keep players in good condition during the off season and they attend home and away games to keep an eye out for potential problems. If a player suffers an injury, the trainer works with the athlete to get back in the game.
Everything you eat becomes fuel for your body. If you eat a high amount of processed foods with sugar and high fat content, you'll notice that you feel tired and sluggish. When you eat healthier foods, you feel stronger and better about yourself. Athletes expend a lot of energy and burn a high amount of calories during practices and games. Nutritionists work with players to ensure that they take in the necessary number of calories every day. They may even work with chefs to create healthy dishes that players can eat before and after games.
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine ranks the team doctor or physician as the most important job in sports medicine. Team doctors may work for colleges and amateur sports teams, but they typically work with professional teams. They are there to help players recover from colds, viruses and minor injuries. Team doctors go over x-rays and order tests to determine the severity of an injury, and they work with the players and keep an eye on players to ensure they're ready to go back on the court or field. Doctors can also monitor players for signs of alcoholism, substance abuse, and certain diseases.
Did you know that you can use a sports medicine degree to find work as a coach? Most high schools and lower level schools hire coaches capable of teaching and coaching throughout the school year. Colleges and universities hire coaches with experience working with players at the lower levels. You can use your degree to show that you have a strong understanding of sports medicine and experience working with players in certain sports. Though you may find yourself spending years working as an assistant coach before gaining a higher position, you can get your foot in the door with a degree in sports medicine.
While sports medicine is part of the medical field, not all jobs available to college graduates are medical positions. Athletic coaches and team trainers are just a few of the jobs open to graduates of these programs. With your sports medicine degree, you may also find work as a team doctor or a nutritionist.