The Sports Medicine Fellowship at SVSP

St. Vincent Sports Performance is already known as a destination for athletes who desire an all-encompassing approach to their sport participation needs. The sum of the parts, including sports medicine, sports rehabilitation, sports nutrition, sport psychology and performance training, is greater than adding each of these alone.

Having these aspects of sports performance housed under one roof makes SVSP an ideal location for training other performance specialists. Sports Medicine has been recognized as a medical specialty for over 20 years. Training to become a sports medicine physician requires a one-year fellowship in an accredited program after completion of residency as well as board certification. St. Vincent Sports Performance received accreditation for its fellowship in 2012. Since then we have trained five sports medicine physicians and a sixth is currently in the program. All five prior fellowship graduates have obtained board certification in sports medicine on their first attempt.

During the one year of training, our sports medicine fellow is part of the team. Finding the right fit for the team is crucial to a successful fellowship program. When selecting applicants to interview, we assess several factors. The most crucial of these is demonstrating a desire to be involved with sports and active individuals. This can include assisting with a local high school in providing medical coverage or volunteering medical services at mass participation events such as a marathon or triathlon. Other factors that go into selecting candidates include rotating in sports medicine electives, attendance of sports medicine conferences, scholarly activity that is relevant to sports medicine and performance on medical board exams.

Training an outstanding sports medicine physician is an easier task when that physician wants to be part of the program. Fellows are selected through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Each year, we interview about 10 candidates for one fellowship position. Those candidates will also interview at other programs across the country. The candidates then submit a ranking list of their programs to the NRMP and the fellowship programs do the same for their list of candidates. The NRMP then integrates those lists so that each candidate and each program will get the highest ranked match available. Not all candidates match to a program and not all programs match a candidate. SVSP’s fellowship program has successfully matched all six years.

Once the match process is complete, the task of educating the fellow falls on all of us at SVSP. We are blessed to have an outstanding network of providers within our walls and some outside our walls to take on the task of educating the fellow. Our sports medicine physicians train the fellow in diagnosis and management of sport-related conditions. Our sports rehabilitation team educate the fellow on rehabilitation principles as they relate to sport. SVSP sports dieticians and sport psychologists also educate the fellow on their areas of unique expertise and how to best utilize their services.

Education also occurs outside the walls of SVSP including orthopedic clinics, radiology centers, sidelines and training rooms. The fellow will also function in the role of a team physician. The primary opportunities exist working with Marian University, Butler University and a local high school. Teaching and scholarly activity is also an expected component of the fellowship. The fellow will have the opportunity to teach residents, medical students and other post-graduate students. Scholarly activity may include original research, review articles, textbook chapters, peer-reviewed journal authorship or in-depth case presentation.

At SVSP, training a sports medicine fellow is a rewarding experience. It is an opportunity to give back to a field that has given us so much in our lives. We all had our own mentors and advisors we looked up to and this is an opportunity to pay that back. In addition, training medical professionals is a way for SVSP to give back to our community locally and across the state or beyond. Our fellows may stay and practice locally, may practice in other parts of the state, or travel to other states. Regardless, a well-trained sports medicine physician can be a valuable asset to any area or community and we are happy to help in this manner. So, in addition to our primary areas of service, medical education is another way SVSP is Defining Sports Performance.

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