Sports Medicine Blog by Dr Martin McConaghy



Sport & Exercise Medicine is a branch of Medicine that deals with issues around physical activity. Sports medicine doctors are doctors who have qualified in medicine, spent several years working in various hospital specialities and General Practice before having specialist training in Sport & Exercise Medicine.

Sport & Exercise Medicine has several components:

 Injury Management – treating musculoskeletal injuries is what sports medicine doctors are best known for. A sports medicine doctor helps all kinds of individuals, from the person who has hurt their back gardening, to the elite athlete. A Sports Medicine Doctor will assess your injury, give you a diagnosis and plan your treatment.

 Injury prevention – it is always best to avoid an injury rather than treat it after it has occurred. Sports medicine doctors are ideally placed to give you the most up to date advice on how to prevent injuries.

 Exercise Medicine – This can be divided into 2 main areas:

(1) Specific sports related exercise issues like unexplained underperformance, sports related fatigue, sports cardiology issues, exercise induced asthma, diabetes in sport.

(2) It has been known for hundreds of years that physical inactivity leads to ill‐ health. Our population has never been more physically inactive than they are now. This is leading to an unsustainable burden on the health and economic costs to the nation. Sports medicine doctors are able to evaluate the current medical problems you have and provide a tailored exercise programme for you. We commonly see patients with heart disease, strokes, cancers, diabetes, asthma, copd, parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, oesteoporosis and obesity.

Team Doctors  ‐ many sports medicine doctors work in team settings as part of a multidisciplinary team that can involve coaching staff, physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, sports psychologists and sports nutritionists. The sports medicine doctor’s role is to work as part of this multidisciplinary team, advising on the medical aspects of the day to day running of the team.

Why should I see a Sports Medicine Doctor?

Sports Medicine is a relatively new medical speciality in Ireland and the UK when compared with other medical specialities. Patients with sports injuries, exercise related issues or musculoskeletal conditions often seek advice from a variety of places eg their GP, local A&E department, a physiotherapist, an orthopaedic surgeon, a chiropractor, an alternative therapist. Whilst these options may be suitable for some patients depending on their circumstances, the vast majority of patients should attend a sports medicine doctor initially to get an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan.

When explaining Sport & Exercise Medicine and the role of a Sports Medicine Doctor, I often use cardiac conditions and the role of a Cardiologist as an analogy:

 Patients who have heart conditions are best managed by a Cardiologist. Patients who have sports injuries, musculoskeletal conditions or exercise related issues are best managed by a Sports Medicine Doctor.

 Some patients with heart conditions will require referral on to a Cardiac Surgeon for heart surgery. Some patients with sports injuries and musculoskeletal problems will require referral on to an Orthopaedic Surgeon for orthopaedic surgery

 Cardiologists work closely with Cardiac Surgeons, Radiologists and Cardiac Rehabilitation Therapists. Sports Medicine Doctors work closely with Orthopaedic Surgeons, Radiologists and Physiotherapists.

 The patient’s  GP will be involved to monitor some aspects of their care. The patient’s GP will be involved to monitor some aspects of their care

 Occasionally  patients with heart conditions will need to attend A&E with emergencies eg  severe chest pain, shortness of breath. Occasionally patients with sports medicine problems will need to attend A&E with emergencies eg fractures, severe concussion.

Please contact me if you wish to have further information.

Dr Martin McConaghy

Sports Medicine Doctor

ulster clinic

      Dr Martin McConaghy
      Phone: 07900 901 539
      Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      Website: www.ulstersportsmedicineclinic.com
      DBSM Centre of Excellence, Demense, Castleshane, Co. Monaghan
      Phone: 047 85470
      Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      Website: www.dbsm.ie