The careers of primary care sports medicine physicians in the United States: a survey study

Clin J Sport Med. 2008 Jan;18(1):81-4. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e318160a514.


Objective: This study examined the scope of practice, career satisfaction, and self-perceived skills of primary care sports medicine (PCSM) family physicians.

Design: A cross-sectional analysis of data, using self-reported survey results.

Setting: N/A.

Participants: PCSM family physicians who completed fellowship training after 1998 and who had passed the Certificate of Added Qualification examination.

Intervention: A survey instrument that contained questions about demographics, scope of practice, and career satisfaction was mailed to the study participants. Analyses consisted of chi-square and t tests to explore relationships between prespecified variables of interest.

Main outcomes: N/A.

Results: There was a 71% response rate. The study group was 84% male, with a median age of 37. More than 90% reported that they were satisfied with their careers and felt they were less likely than their generalist counterparts to refer musculoskeletal problems to orthopedists.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that the vast majority of PCSM fellowship-trained family physicians are satisfied with their careers, seem to fill a consultant role, and have maintained their generalist skills. PCSM physicians who see mostly patients with musculoskeletal complaints seem less confident than their peers that they have maintained their general medical skills, but they are more likely to have a higher salary. As PCSM evolves during the next decade, the role of PCSM physicians will be further defined.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Sports Medicine*
  • United States