sports medicine

a field of medicine concerned with the functioning of the human body during physical activity and with the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries.
[1960-65]

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Medical and paramedical supervision and treatment of athletes.

It has four aspects. Preparation (conditioning) uses diet, exercises, and monitoring of practice sessions to improve performance. Prevention identifies any predisposition to injury or illness and covers warmup, stretching, and design and use of protective equipment. Many surgical techniques developed in sports medicine, particularly for knee injuries, are now used for the general population. Rehabilitation (see physical medicine and rehabilitation) prepares an injured or ill athlete to return to activity after initial treatment.

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      medical and paramedical supervision of athletes in training and in competition and the treatment of their injuries. As participation in athletic sports and games increased in the 20th century, the need for special attention to sports medicine became apparent. With its development came increased attention to and understanding of exercise physiology.

      There are four aspects to sports medicine: preparation of the athlete, prevention of illness or injury, diagnosis and treatment of illness or injury, and rehabilitation and return of the injured athlete to sports activity. Preparation, or conditioning, improves specific aspects of performance, such as speed, strength, and endurance. The diet of the athlete, specific exercise programs for specific sports, and monitoring the duration and conditions of practice sessions are all-important.

      Prevention of injury begins with a physical examination to identify any preexisting conditions that might cause injury or illness to the athlete. Stretching exercises before practice or performance prevent injury from sudden strain. Practitioners of sports medicine also advise the design of equipment, e.g., protective padding or headgear, so as to reduce the chance of injury.

      Sports medicine has developed many surgical techniques, particularly for knee injuries, that have come to be applied in general surgical and medical practice.

      In Europe, sports medicine has long been a recognized medical specialty, but it was recognized more slowly in the United States. The International Federation of Sportive Medicine was founded in 1928 and by the 1980s had about 50 national affiliates.

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Universalium. 2010.

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